The Health News – 31 March 2017

Overview:
• Since the HPV vaccine was rolled out as a schools-based program for girls in 2007, there has been a steady improvement in the number of 15-year-olds protected against the virus.Michael Frost, the head of the health performance and accountability framework group at the AIHW, said nationally the figures had improved since 2012-13.

• Rohan O’Reilly is a movement therapist in Newcastle, New South Wales, who has been using alternative therapies involving virtual reality devices to help his clients with rehabilitation. Mr O’Reilly said virtual reality helped clients to exercise their bodies in non-traditional ways.

• The Council of Australian Governments Health Council last week announced it would develop the first national suicide prevention plan. Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan said the announcement was welcomed by the sector, but emphasised clear targets and performance indicators were necessary. Jack Heath, CEO of mental illness advocacy group SANE, agreed long-term goals were essential.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  31st of March 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-30/almost-80pc-of-girls-now-immunised-against-hpv-in-australia/8400322

Close to 80 per cent of 15-year-old girls in Australia are now immunised against the human papilloma virus, according to new figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The HPV immunisation can prevent a range of cancers, including cervical cancer and other conditions like genital warts.

Since the HPV vaccine was rolled out as a schools-based program for girls in 2007, there has been a steady improvement in the number of 15-year-olds protected against the virus.

Michael Frost, the head of the health performance and accountability framework group at the AIHW, said nationally the figures had improved since 2012-13.

The percentage of girls fully immunised at age 15 nationally has gone from 72 per cent in 2012–13, to about 74 per cent in 2013–14, and almost 79 per cent in 2014–15.

“This is a good result… and we’ve also seen improvement in 20 of 31 of what are called Primary Health Network (PHN) areas across the country,” he said.

The immunisation figure does vary across Australia.

The HPV vaccine was originally rolled out for schoolgirls, but is just as important for teenage boys.

… in 2013 the program was rolled out to include boys.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-30/reimagining-rehabilitation-with-help-of-virtual-reality/8397276

Advances in technology are continually shaping the future of medical treatment, but could devices [using]… virtual reality (VR), which were once considered the realm of gamers, be the next frontier for physical rehabilitation?

Rohan O’Reilly is a movement therapist in Newcastle, New South Wales, who has been using alternative therapies involving virtual reality devices to help his clients with rehabilitation.

“It really came back to the point of listening to people’s stories who had had large-scale traumas, and their experiences of what they went through, from their initial accident through to therapy,” Mr O’Reilly said.

“For most of them it was really [boring] and quite uncomfortable and not inspiring.

“So we thought ‘We need to make this feel better’.

“Virtual reality would be the one that’s hot at the moment, and essentially that is a game changer. It’s phenomenal what can be done with that as a platform for putting people in a state where they want to play.”

Mr O’Reilly said virtual reality helped clients to exercise their bodies in non-traditional ways.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-30/national-suicide-prevention-target-needed-mental-health-groups/8398694

Mental health organisations are calling for the Federal Government to set a suicide reduction target, saying they need action instead of “good intentions”.

The renewed push follows a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments Health Council last week, when it announced it would develop the first national suicide prevention plan.

The sector said action at a national level was long overdue, but there were concerns the delay might lead to a kneejerk response rather than considered planning.

But some advocates said the rising number of suicide deaths demonstrated the need for intervention.

Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan said the announcement was welcomed by the sector, but emphasised clear targets and performance indicators were necessary.

Jack Heath, CEO of mental illness advocacy group SANE, agreed long-term goals were essential.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt would not confirm whether a suicide reduction target was on the table for inclusion in the plan.

Previous calls for a target were rejected by the Turnbull Government in 2015, when former politician John Brogden used the 10-year anniversary of his own suicide attempt to call for a national reduction target.

The former New South Wales Liberal leader was hospitalised in August 2005 after being found unconscious in his Sydney electoral office.

 

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