Bridging the Gap Foundation aims to help Indigenous communities amid health crisis

The Bridging the Gap Foundation, Australia’s leading Indigenous health and education charity, is launching an annual tax-time appeal to address ear disease and hearing loss in rural and remote Indigenous communities (Image Credit: BTGF).

The Bridging the Gap Foundation, Australia’s leading Indigenous health and education charity, is launching an annual tax-time appeal to address ear disease and hearing loss in rural and remote Indigenous communities where these issues are particularly prevalent amongst children.

Ninety per cent of Indigenous children in remote areas of the Northern Territory suffer from an ear disease called otitis media.

The disease has been found to persist for years in up to seventy per cent of Indigenous children, with nearly thirty per cent developing chronic ruptured eardrums, the most severe form of the disease which causes hearing loss classified as disabling by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

These rates are the highest reported in the world – a factor that directly contributes to lifelong health and educational disadvantage amongst Indigenous populations, as well as
limited employment opportunities.

The first Indigenous fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) Professor Kevin Kong explained how this will directly benefit the community.

“The funds that Bridging the Gap is aiming to raise for community-based action on ear and hearing health is a game-changer for our mob,” he said.

“It’s vital we put capacity back in our community’s hands to drive change on the issue of ear health.”

Professor Amanda Leach, from Menzies School of Health and Research, describes how it is possible to successfully detect and treat common ear infections before they turn into a life-long problem.

“By training community members as ear health facilitators and giving them the skills to use new compact technology to regularly check and detect ear and hearing problems, families and health services can access timely and culturally appropriate expertise,” she explained.

“Once treated and regularly checked, these children can more successfully participate in early and further learning and education, hear without difficulty at home and school, and embark on a path to a healthier future.”

The Bridging the Gap Foundation annual tax-time appeal is currently raising funds to assist in Indigenous ear health education and the early detection and treatment of otitis media.

For more information on the Bridging the Gap Foundation, or to donate, please visit: https://btgfoundation.com.au/earhealth

 

Natasha Hortis

Natasha Hortis is a writer and creative studying a Bachelor of Communications majoring in journalism at Deakin University. She has volunteered for multiple charities and is passionate about journalism as it is educating and informing, to empower those who may not have a voice. Natasha wants to be a journalist to make readers connect to the stories and investigate the real matters that have a big impact on the world.

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  • Natasha Hortis

    Natasha Hortis is a writer and creative studying a Bachelor of Communications majoring in journalism at Deakin University. She has volunteered for multiple charities and is passionate about journalism as it is educating and informing, to empower those who may not have a voice. Natasha wants to be a journalist to make readers connect to the stories and investigate the real matters that have a big impact on the world.

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Natasha Hortis

Natasha Hortis is a writer and creative studying a Bachelor of Communications majoring in journalism at Deakin University. She has volunteered for multiple charities and is passionate about journalism as it is educating and informing, to empower those who may not have a voice. Natasha wants to be a journalist to make readers connect to the stories and investigate the real matters that have a big impact on the world.

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