Tag Archives: northern region

Northern Australia’s decade-long syphilis outbreak prompted a national response | Instant News

Australia’s top medical agency is calling for a coordinated national response to end the syphilis outbreak that has been spreading across the country for 10 years.

Sexually transmitted infections are easy to treat but have spread to parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia since January 2011.

It mainly affects young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and rural areas, particularly Northern Australia.

More than 3,600 people have been diagnosed since the outbreak began, according to federal Health Department data.

“It is very clear that there is a very ineffective response to the epidemic of this very significant disease in four states,” said NT president of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Robert Parker.

“And there is absolutely no coordination from various states and territories in dealing with it,”

Australia currently does not have a national CDC, but the AMA has asked the Federal Government to establish one since 2017.

In a statement, a spokesman from the federal Department of Health said a body called the National Framework for Control of Infectious Diseases, which was endorsed by the COAG Health Council in 2014, was considered a better choice than the national CDC.

Dr Robert Parker has been calling on the national CDC to address this issue since 2017.(ABC News: Samantha Jonscher)

Easy to care for, hard to control

Syphilis can be diagnosed with a blood test and treated with penicillin.

But Dr Andrew Webster, head of clinical governance at Darwin-based Indigenous health service Danila Dilba, said infections could have catastrophic consequences if not treated early.

“This is a very challenging disease to treat because people don’t necessarily know they have the disease until they come to a clinic, get a blood test, and then be identified so we can treat it,” said Dr Webster.

“If left untreated, it can lead to tertiary syphilis which can make something that looks like dementia, in my opinion, in layman’s terms.”

Syphilis can also be passed from pregnant women to their children, with departmental data confirming at least 10 congenital cases and three deaths across Australia since 2011.

“If this epidemic occurs on the Queensland-New South Wales border… there will be a lot of interest and federal intervention.

“Because Aboriginal children are in remote places, the Federal Government doesn’t seem to care.”

Funding cliff scare

In 2017, a group of state and federal government health officials developed a strategic approach to dealing with the outbreak, which was supported by the ministry’s advisory board in addition to an action plan.

$ 21.2 million in federal funding goes to Aboriginal community-controlled health organizations to fund additional staff and on-site testing through 2021.

John Paterson, CEO of NT Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance, said that the fund expires next month.

He questioned what the screening and education programs in remote areas meant, which he said needed more resources.

“That’s not enough,” he said.

AMSANT chief executive John Paterson in Darwin.
John Paterson, CEO of AMSANT, said health organizations need more funds to address this problem.(ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)

Dr Webster praised the Federal Government for its efforts so far in controlling the outbreak, and hopes funding and good relations with Indigenous health organizations will continue.

A department spokesman said the government’s response would be reviewed this year before further commitments were made.

He said the syphilis drug was also added to the Emergency Medicine Supply Schedule in September 2019, and it is intended to treat infections for Aboriginal populations in non-remote areas in a timely manner.

Indigenous medical groups hope the positive relationship they built with the government during the COVID-19 pandemic response will help streamline responses to other major health issues in the future.

“This allows us to get our input and have a voice and ensure that Aboriginal voices are heard,” said Paterson.

“A very similar model is what we should strive for to tackle STIs too.”


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Seven new coronavirus cases among Australians returned to quarantine in the NT | Instant News

The Northern Territory has recorded another seven cases of coronavirus – all among Australians who recently arrived on a Federal Government-administered repatriation flight.

The new cases include five adults in their 20s and 30s, along with a baby boy, who returned from Chennai, India on New Year’s Day.

A 26-year-old woman also had a positive result after returning from London two days earlier.

The new cases, which was the largest one-day increase in the Northern Territory, brought the Territory’s total caseload to 83.

Forty-seven of the cases were among 2,192 people who had returned to Australia since Qantas flights began repatriating people from Britain, India, France and Germany in late October.

People returning to Australia on international flights regulated by the Federal Government will be taken directly to the Howard Springs facility, where they live in an area separate from any domestic travelers undergoing quarantine.

The seven new cases remain under the care of a specialist health team at the facility.

Another repatriation flight from Frankfurt is scheduled to land in Darwin tomorrow, followed by flights from London and New Delhi in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, health authorities are continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation in Victoria. in which 10 new locally acquired cases were diagnosed on the last day.

All of Greater Metropolitan Sydney first declared the coronavirus hotspot earlier this week.


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International students landed in Australia for the first time since March to begin a two-week coronavirus quarantine | Instant News

A charter flight carrying 63 international students has landed in Darwin from Singapore.

Students – from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia – are the first group of international students allowed to enter Australia since March 20.

That students will be transferred directly from the airport to the Howard Springs quarantine facility for 14 days of quarantine.

The facility has been used to quarantine Australian coronavirus refugees from Wuhan and the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan, seasonal fruit pickers from Vanuatu and currently housing repatriated Australians who have been stranded overseas.

This flight marks the first time an international student has entered Australia since March 20.(ABC News: Felicity James)

The Northern Territory Government brokered a deal with the Federal Government and Charles Darwin University (CDU) in September to fly up to 70 international students to Darwin.

The students were asked to test negative for the coronavirus 72 hours before leaving for Darwin.

Students cover the cost of charter flights and CDU will pay for their quarantine.

A student wearing a wave face mask on the tarmac of Darwin Airport with other students walking behind him.
CDU is the first Australian university to allow international students to arrive via a pilot program.(ABC News: Felicity James)

Earlier this year, the ACT and the federal government planned a pilot program to fly 350 international students to Canberra so they can resume their studies on campus in semester two.

It was postponed after a second wave of coronavirus hit Melbourne.

At the end of August, a new program yet the final was announced in a partnership with South Australia to bring up to 300 students into the state.

The success of the CDU pilot program and future efforts to re-accept international students on Australian university campuses is proving critical to the sector.

Analysts expect Australian universities to lose $ 19 billion in student income for the next three years if international borders remain closed until the end of 2021.

An ‘exciting’ time for a rare international arrival

Wulan Morling waited at Darwin Airport from 7.00am until her niece arrived.

Wulan Morling looked at the close-up, bespectacled camera at Darwin Airport.
Wulan Morling’s nephew arrived from Jakarta this morning.(ABC News: Felicity James)

When she caught a glimpse of her nephew Rifqi, they shared the wave as she walked through the arrival gate onto the bus to Howard Springs.

This is Rifqi’s 18-year-old first trip abroad. He traveled from Jakarta in Indonesia to learn to cook at CDU.

“He’s been waiting – he’s supposed to start in July – so it’s just waiting for the process, and is a little eager to see if he can come here,” said Morling.

“But then CDU, with this charter flight, was really exciting [for him] to come here at last. “

Three students wearing face masks are looking at the camera while sitting on the bus ..
Rifqi Susanto Putra (center) will study cookery at CDU.(Provided)


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NT police search for missing man Yun-Seob Shin in Central Australia | Instant News

Northern Territory police believe a man who went missing in Central Australia since Thursday planned to go camping in a national park west of Alice Springs.

The air and ground search for 37-year-old Yun-Seob Shin was carried out yesterday amid temperatures hitting nearly 40 degrees Celsius.

Police said Shin, who is believed to be from Victoria and drove a white Nissan X-Trail, has been in Alice Springs for the past month.

He didn’t come to work yesterday morning.

His colleagues told police he had informed them of his intention to go camping near the Boggy Hole or Palm Valley on Thursday and Friday.

Both campsites are in Finke Gorge National Park, about 140 kilometers west of Alice Springs.

Police said Shin’s last confirmed location was at the Stuart Well Roadhouse, 90 kilometers southwest of Alice Springs, on Thursday.

“It is not known what provisions or bush skills Mr. Shin has, and the police are concerned about his well-being.”

The police urged anyone with information about Mr. Shin to call them on 131 444.


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NT will uproot the coronavirus hotspots in South Australia | Instant News

The Northern Territory is preparing to withdraw its declaration of Adelaide and its surrounding suburbs as a coronavirus hotspot by tomorrow morning, said Chief Minister Michael Gunner.

This means that hundreds of people arrived in the NT from South Australia earlier this week will be released from quarantine.

Mr Gunner said NT Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie marked the removal following the latest advice from South Australian authorities.

“We aim to elevate the whole of South Australia as a hotspot tomorrow at 9am,” Gunner said on social media.

“Tomorrow morning, our Chief Health Officer will confirm this advice, and that means everyone in quarantine will be able to leave, and those who enter Territory from SA will no longer need to be quarantined.

“But before they leave quarantine, they will undergo one final check, as well as a COVID-19 test.”

The decision came after South Australian Authority announced an end to the state’s forced lockdown on Saturday evening, three days early, after the state recorded three cases of the new coronavirus.

Authorities made the decision after discovering that one of the positive cases at the Woodville Pizza Bar hotspot had lied to a contact tracer.

A message to residents in Howard Springs from the NT Department of Health reads: “If this [hotspot revocation] applies to you, we will contact you shortly. “

“Please be patient with us as we work through large numbers of people, this will ensure you exit the Howard Springs Facility as efficiently and safely as possible.”

Quarantine chaos sparked by an influx of visitors from SA

The hotspot declaration sparked chaos on the border between South Australia and the Northern Territory earlier this week as NT authorities were caught off guard with a sudden visitor from the southern state.

The influx, many of them hoping to enter PB before the government’s bid to lift quarantine fees expired on Tuesday, quickly pushed Alice Springs’ quarantine facility to capacity.

On Tuesday afternoon, the NT Government allowed 130 people to isolate themselves at residential addresses.

The plane also ended up flying 70 people from Alice Springs to the Howard Springs quarantine facility in Darwin, as it scrambled to find accommodation for the arrival of South Australia after a previous flight was delayed by a bird strike.

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said there were around 1,100 people in mandatory quarantine, including 500 international arrivals.


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