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New resource kits to tackle ear disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids have been launched by the Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon. The kits will be rolled out to health professionals across the country, and feature clear messages and images to help explain to carers and parents about the signs and symptoms of ear disease.
'Wiping out ear and hearing problems among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys and girls is critical in preventing them from falling behind in early development,' Mr Snowdon said.
'More than ten percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids suffer a hearing or ear problem - compared with only three per cent of the rest of the population of the same age.'
The kits contain information on prevention and treatment of hearing problems and ear disease, include the importance of simple steps such as getting children's ears checked regularly at the clinic, good hygiene, providing smoke-free environments, eating healthy food and breastfeeding.
The Care for kids' ears website also includes the Recommendations for clinical care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations (updated 2010) publication as a key resource for health professionals.
‘Kids ears should be checked every time they're at the clinic. If they're coming in for an immunisation, a chest infection, or even a splinter on the toe, check their ears,' says Sandi Nelson, Ear and Hearing Health Worker.
The kits will be distributed to health professionals including Aboriginal Medical Services, Divisions of General Practice, peak bodies for health professionals working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and state-based Aboriginal health clinics. They are also available online from the Care for kids' ears website.