COVID-19 Update and information section to keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities informed

  • COVID-19 Updates and Information portal

COVID-19 Updates and Information portal.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Michelle Elwell, Senior Research Officer

For the past 22 years, the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (HealthInfoNet) has provided support to those working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector by making research and other knowledge readily accessible. In this way, we contribute to closing the gap in health between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. The HealthInfoNet online resource provides the knowledge and other information needed for health practitioners and policy makers to make informed decision in their work.

In March 2020, with the increasing number of Australians being impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the HealthInfoNet recognised the need to establish a COVID-19 Updates and Information portal to ensure our website users were informed with timely, accessible and relevant health promotion and health practice information and resources as they became available.

We contacted the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) to inform them of the development of the portal as we felt this portal would be of particular interest to not only NACCHO member services but to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wider community and health services.

It was agreed that having a prominent location on the HealthInfoNet website would be beneficial for NACCHO member services and that any new portal should include links to the Respiratory health and Infectious conditions sections on the HealthInfoNet.

When first developed, the COVID-19 Update and Information portal had a range of Government and NACCHO content, however this soon grew to include health promotion and health practice resources from health organisations across Australia. NACCHO member services were encouraged to send information about resources as they were developed to the HealthInfoNet to review and add to the Portal. This callout was very beneficial and a constant flow of information and resources was received.

The Portal is monitored daily with new resources and relevant information added as soon as it becomes available. There is a range of health promotion and health practice resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, communities and health professionals. Direct links to the Department of Health and NACCHO are available along with a link to the COVIDSafe app.

No matter where people are located within Australia, they have access to key Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander information about COVID-19 via the Portal. Links to all state and territory government websites are also available.

Health promotion information includes:

  • radio and video recordings in both Aboriginal languages and English
  • social media tiles and banners
  • easy to read resources for those people with learning disabilities or who speak English as a second language
  • guides for funerals and Sorry Business
  • animated videos and posters
  • information sheets
  • newsletters
  • infographics
  • the COVID-19 helpline
  • checking of symptoms using a self-guided process.

Health practice resources include:

  • COVID-19 information for service providers these include:
    • using technology to minimise face to face visits
    • training and staff travel
    • healthy practices during the coronavirus pandemic
    • symptoms of coronavirus – COVID-19
    • cleaning information for health services and health professionals
    • information on accessing Aboriginal communities
  • NACCHO member services resources
  • Medicare bulk billing information
  • online webinars
  • information on flexible funding grants
  • organising telehealth services in your practice.

If anyone would like to provide content for the COVID-19 Portal, please contact Michelle Elwell via email: [email protected]

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