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Navigating the health system

Welcome to another chilly month across Sydney Local Health District. The temperature has certainly dipped so I hope you are all keeping warm and protecting yourselves against the flu.  
Shane Brown (left) at a recent YouthBlock event. Photo: Supplied

Shane Brown (left) at a recent YouthBlock event. Photo: Supplied

If you are yet to be vaccinated, please see your GP soon so you can avoid becoming infected and help provide protection for those vulnerable members of our community, such as babies, the elderly and those who may have compromised immune systems.

We have recently employed Shane Brown in the role of Healthy Living Link Worker to provide support for the Waterloo community in navigating the health system. Many of you may know Shane from his previous role as the CEO of Weave. He brings 30 years of experience working in the Redfern-Waterloo community and has close relationships with local families and organisations, community development skills and a deep commitment to the Aboriginal community.

Shane will be working with a team from Sydney Local Health District, with input from the community to implement the actions from the Waterloo Health Forum 2.0 which will be released imminently. He will also be thinking creatively about how to improve access and build new partnerships with government and non-government organisations to improve access to health services. Initially, Shane will be working Monday to Wednesday and can be contacted on 0408 257 986.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Kristian Reyes for his work previously in this role.

This month, the District’s Erin Miller was interviewed on radio 2SER on our involvement in the RedLink interagency program in Redfern and Waterloo. Erin manages our Healthy Homes and Neighbourhoods program, and many of her team work from the RedLink hub.

We know that there are many factors, such as housing, income, employment and social networks, which can impact our health. The Healthy Homes and Neighbourhoods program identifies vulnerable families with such issues and links them in with appropriate services so their health can improve.

Erin gave a great overview on how we are working on an evaluation of the care we provide in Redfern, including work via the RedLink hub. Results so far suggest there have been positive outcomes for the community, such as having better access to services and increased collaboration between services. I look forward to sharing more information on this evaluation with you.

If you’d like to listen to Erin’s interview, visit 2SER website.

In closing, we recently helped conduct liver checks at the Exodus Foundation in Ashfield and it was a great opportunity to raise awareness of hepatitis C and the medications that are now available to treat it.

New direct-acting antiviral medicines have been available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme since March 2016. These new medicines offer a cure for 90-95 per cent of people living with hepatitis C. More new treatments are expected to follow for all less-common strains of the virus. If you think you could benefit, please talk to your GP.

Until next time, stay healthy.

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