Western Australian children will receive better ear health with the introduction of a new program to battle chronic ear disease.
The Western Australian Child Ear Health Strategy will provide better ear health care in remote communities through multiple agency service planning, strengthened community partnerships, funding and improved co-ordination.
It will provides greater consistency and co-ordination across a range of service providers in the State, ensuring improved outcomes for all children vulnerable to chronic infection, with children in remote communities having one of the highest rates of chronic ear disease in the world.
The strategy will enhance prevention, standardise surveillance, provide constant treatment, develop the workforce, evaluate programs, co-ordination and partnerships as well as provide comprehensive evidence.
It is focused on Aboriginal children up to 10-years-old .but does not exclude other Western Australian children.
The strategy is a collaboration between The Telethon Kids Institute, Rural Health West, WA Country Health Service, Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, WA Primary Health Alliance, Child and Adolescent Community Health and Aboriginal Affairs.
They are currently working on the key areas.
The program was launched in Karratha on Wednesday.
Health Minister Roger Cook said ear health was an important issue that affected regional communities.
“Many WA children are vulnerable to chronic ear disease,” he said.
“Ear health is one of the most pressing issues impacting Aboriginal communities and can impact literacy, education, and employment.”
He said the strategy would improve childrens’ ear health and lives.
“The lifelong impact of childhood deafness can be devastating and this strategy ensures resources are directed to enhancing prevention, early diagnosis management, and surveillance to ensure all children across WA have healthy ears and can listen, learn and reach their full potential,” Mr Cook said.