Hundreds of children all over Western Australia are set to benefit from better ear health, with the Western Australian Child Ear Health Strategy launched in Karratha today.
The strategy provides a road map for better care through multi-agency service planning, strengthened community focused partnerships, alignment of funding, and better co-ordination.
Children living in remote communities have some of the highest rates of chronic ear disease in the world and while this strategy does not exclude other children, it recognises the importance of a primary focus on Aboriginal children up to 10 years of age.
The strategy lays the foundation for achieving greater consistency and co-ordination across a range of service providers in WA, and will ensure that outcomes are improved for all children vulnerable to chronic infection.
Telethon Kids Institute, Rural Health West, WA Country Health Service, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, WA Primary Health Alliance, Child and Adolescent Community Health and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs collaborated to develop the strategy and are now working on the seven key priorities.
The key priorities are enhanced prevention, standardised surveillance, consistent treatment, workforce development, program evaluation, co-ordination and partnerships, and comprehensive evidence.
The WA Child Ear Health Strategy features artwork by a young Whadjuk Noongar woman, Biara Martin who has used imagery to represent how sound waves travel through the ear.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"While many WA children are vulnerable to chronic ear disease, Aboriginal people experience some of the highest levels of ear disease and hearing loss in the world, with rates up to 10 times more than those of non-Aboriginal people.
"Ear health is one of the most pressing issues impacting Aboriginal communities and can impact literacy, education, and employment.
"The lifelong impact of childhood deafness can be devastating and this strategy ensures resources are directed to enhancing prevention, early diagnosis management, and surveillance to ensure all children across WA have healthy ears and can listen, learn, and reach their full potential."
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