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Budget 2012-13 provides for programs relevant to Indigenous ear health including ongoing commitment to:
Outcome 7 provides specific details about hearing services and describes the ongoing services of Australian Hearing. In 2012-13, the Department of Health and Ageing will develop an online portal to allow the electronic lodgement of voucher applications and improve clients' access to information. The development of online services will be complemented by an evaluation of Hearing services program communication materials.
The Department will work closely with consumers and service providers throughout 2012-13 to ensure that program information and online services meet their needs. From July 2012, the Department will implement a more targeted, risk based, audit program of hearing services providers to assess their compliance with contractual and legal obligations. The audit process will help ensure that information, processes and hearing services are delivered in a clinically appropriate and timely manner to meet client needs.
In 2012-13, the Australian Government will fund a range of research organisations through the Hearing loss prevention program, to identify strategies to reduce avoidable hearing loss in the general community; one of the priority areas is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Australian Government will provide $1.1 million over four years to fund Prevenar 13®, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, to be given as the fourth dose of the pneumococcal vaccination schedule for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children between 12-18 months of age living in jurisdictions with a high incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). (Pneumococcus is a bacterium that causes diseases such as pneumonia and middle ear infections, especially in children.)
The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine induces a stronger immune response in younger children than the alternate polysaccharide vaccine currently available through the National immunisation program and enables the full childhood pneumococcal vaccination course to be completed earlier in life. It will bring the pneumococcal vaccination schedule for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in line with that of other children at high risk of IPD due to medical reasons. It is estimated that each year, around 6,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children between 12 and 18 months of age living in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory will benefit from this change.
Source: Australian Government
Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601
Ph: (02) 6289 1555 (Switchboard)
Freecall: 1800 020 103
Australian Hearing Head Office
126 Greville Street
Chatswood NSW 2067
Ph: (02) 9412 6800
TTY: (02) 9412 6802
Fax: (02) 9413 3362