The Health News Australia March 21 2018

  • Claims that funding for Indigenous suicide prevention programs is being spent on travel costs will be examined at Senate inquiry into rural and remote mental health services. The inquiry was approved in the Senate on Monday with backing from Labor and the Greens and will look at the higher rates of suicide in rural Australia, quality of and access to mental health services in rural and remote Australia, shortfalls in the mental health workforce, and the use of technology and e-health services. Rural areas have higher rates of suicide than capital cities and the rates of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice the non-Indigenous suicide rate.
  • A 42-year-old Perth woman has won the right to take her dead partner’s frozen sperm to the ACT in a bid to have his baby. The woman, known as GLS, launched civil proceedings in the Supreme Court last year, following the death of her partner in early 2016. The man, referred to in court documents as Gary, suffered a heart attack in late January of that year was pronounced dead at Royal Perth Hospital a few days later.
    The couple had been together for more than 5 years, and had discussed freezing Gary’s sperm in late 2014, due to his age and fear of early death.
  • Food giant Heinz’s misled consumers about the health value of Little Kids Shredz products for toddlers, an Australian court ruled recently, adding that the US firm should have been aware the claims were deceptive. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took Heinz to court in 2016, saying images and statements on Shredz products, which contain fruit pastes, purees and concentrate, indicated they were healthy and nutritious for young children.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 21st of March 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/19/senate-inquiry-to-examine-claims-indigenous-suicide-prevention-funding-misspent

Claims that funding for Indigenous suicide prevention programs is being spent on travel costs will be examined at Senate inquiry into rural and remote mental health services. The inquiry was approved in the Senate on Monday with backing from Labor and the Greens and will look at the higher rates of suicide in rural Australia, quality of and access to mental health services in rural and remote Australia, shortfalls in the mental health workforce, and the use of technology and e-health services.

Rural areas have higher rates of suicide than capital cities and the rates of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice the non-Indigenous suicide rate. A two thousand sixteen study found that rates of suicide and self-harm among Indigenous people in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia were seven and twenty times higher than the national average, respectively.

Labor’s shadow assistant minister for mental health, Senator Deb O’Neil, said the inquiry would include looking at the national suicide prevention trial site program, which began in two thousand sixteen. O’Neil told Guardian Australia that Aboriginal people in the Kimberley had raised concerns that part of the budget for the evaluation project had been spent on the costs of helping people travel to meetings about the project.
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There are twelve suicide evaluation trial sites around Australia, focused on areas with a high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, such as the Kimberley. According to a coronial inquest into thirteen suicides of Indigenous people in the Kimberley, the youngest of whom was just ten years old, there have been forty reports by the federal and Western Australian governments on Indigenous suicide in the past fifteen years, making a total of seven hundred recommendations. O’Neil said the inquiry would also look at the shortage of qualified mental health workers and poor internet access in very remote areas, which affects the rollout of telehealth services.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-20/supreme-court-frozen-sperm-stoush/9564968

A forty two-year-old Perth woman has won the right to take her dead partner’s frozen sperm to the Australian Capital Territory in a bid to have his baby. The woman, known as GLS, launched civil proceedings in the Supreme Court last year, following the death of her partner in early two thousand sixteen. The man, referred to in court documents as Gary, suffered a heart attack in late January of that year was pronounced dead at Royal Perth Hospital a few days later. He was fifty three years old.

The couple had been together for more than five years, and had discussed freezing Gary’s sperm in late two thousand fourteen, due to his age and fear of early death.

Following his death in February two thousand sixteen, GLS contacted a fertility centre specialist who attended the RPH mortuary and extracted the sperm, which was placed in storage at the fertility clinic. In December two thousand sixteen, GLS obtained permission from Gary’s adult son to use the sperm, with the condition she not contact Gary’s family for financial or emotional assistance.
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In July two thousand seventeen, lawyers acting for GLS contacted the Reproductive Technology Council of WA or RTC to request approval to move the sperm to the ACT, which does allow gametes from dead providers to be used in artificial insemination. The RTC responded in October it would not allow the transfer to take place, arguing to do so would be contrary to state legislation. GLS then referred the matter to the Supreme Court, arguing she was entitled to have the sperm moved to the ACT, and also that RTC approval for such a move was not required.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/australia-court-rules-heinz-healthy-toddler-food-misleading-118031900387_1.html

Food giant Heinz’s misled consumers about the health value of Little Kids Shredz products for toddlers, an Australian court ruled recently, adding that the US firm should have been aware the claims were deceptive. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission took Heinz to court in two thousand sixteen, saying images and statements on Shredz products, which contain fruit pastes, purees and concentrate, indicated they were healthy and nutritious for young children.

The national consumer watchdog said such claims were misleading as the products contain over sixty percent sugar, significantly higher than fruit and vegetables, with the Federal Court agreeing. Justice Richard White said in his judgement: “Heinz represented that (they were) beneficial to the health of children aged one to three years when by reason of their high sugar content and sticky texture, the products were not beneficial.” He found that Heinz had “engaged in conduct which was misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive in contravention” of Australian Consumer Law.
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The judge rejected another ACCC assertion that Heinz had claimed the products were of an “equivalent nutritional value” to fruit and vegetables and would encourage the development of healthy eating habits for children aged one to three”. Heinz Australia managing director Bruno Lino added that Heinz was committed to providing high-quality food products and to communicating clearly with consumers. The Shredz products are no longer on sale in Australia.
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The World Health Organisation recommends limiting the intake of foods containing fruit juice concentrate to reduce the risk of obesity and tooth decay.

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