- Organisers of a national disability conference in Melbourne have come under fire after speakers had to be carried onto the stage because it was not wheelchair-accessible.
- A campaign to promote sexual health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities during the 1980s is being remembered in an exhibit at Australia’s Indigenous archive in Canberra.
- Pregnant women in South Australia are being offered the whooping cough vaccination for free by the State Government in a bid to prevent an outbreak of the deadly illness.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27th March 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Organisers of a national disability conference in Melbourne have come under fire after speakers had to be carried onto the stage because it was not wheelchair-accessible.
Attendees of the sixth annual National Disability Summit, organised by a private provider, said disabled participants who paid $2,000 to attend were made to sit together at one table at the back of the room.
Only 12 concession spots had been organised for participants with disabilities at last week’s summit.
There was no ramp for mobility-impaired speakers to reach the stage and participants had to be lifted up four stairs so they could get to the lectern.
One participant, Jax Jacki Brown, said on Facebook that watching a speaker getting carried up on stage showed that “we have a long way to go”.
Access to the disabled toilets was blocked by chairs and was used for storage.
Disability advocate Jarrod Marrinon said organisers took his registration fee and then told him there was no spot for him but eventually allowed him to participate.
“I was pretty taken aback when I realised just how much these people don’t really think about what they’re doing,” he said.
“I refused to sit [at] the table. The problem was the table was up the back, in the corner.”
The summit discussed the progress of the NDIS trial sites.
A campaign to promote sexual health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities during the 1980s is being remembered in an exhibit at Australia’s Indigenous archive in Canberra.
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) has collected posters, magazines, early design sketches and campaign paraphernalia featuring the heroic sexual health action figure Condoman.
Condoman was first developed in 1987 by a group of Indigenous health workers in Townsville to promote and encourage condom use.
During the campaign, the action figure was referred to as the “deadly protector of sexual health”.
The campaign launched after health workers considered an AIDS awareness television campaign The Grim Reaper inappropriate for an Indigenous audience.
Canberra artist Alison Alder was part of the design team behind Condoman during the 1980s.
In an interview with 666 ABC Canberra, Alder described Condoman as “the hero known for exhorting people to wear condoms”.
“It came about when people were really starting to get worried about the AIDS epidemic and also the impact that it would have on Aboriginal communities,” she said.
“The idea of Condoman was developed by Indigenous health workers in north Queensland.
“They drew up a little sketch which they sent down to us and then we drew it up.”
Alder said action figure The Phantom inspired Condoman’s appearance.
“The Phantom was a really popular comic in north Queensland at the time,” she said.
“We printed Condoman and he just took off. The posters are now collectors’ items.
“The initial print run wasn’t that big and it was really just targeted for the north Queensland communities.
“Then suddenly the whole country wanted Condoman and so all of a sudden he was everywhere.”
In 2009 Condoman was relaunched to include a female counterpart, Lubelicious.
A radio series, produced by the Queensland AIDS Council’s 2 Spirits program in collaboration with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health and 98.9 FM Radio, described Lubelicious as “Condoman’s deadly slippery sister”.
The original Condoman poster features the line “Don’t be shame, be game. Use frenchies,” Alder said.
“‘Use frenchies’ was the vernacular from north Queensland at the time and then it was changed to ‘wear condoms’ for broader distribution.”
The collection will remain on display at AIATSIS.
Pregnant women in South Australia are being offered the whooping cough vaccination for free by the State Government in a bid to prevent an outbreak of the deadly illness.
A four-week-old baby died in Western Australia last week from the infectious disease and there are concerns about a spike in the number of cases across the country.
Health Minister Jack Snelling said he hoped as many expectant mothers as possible would take advantage of the free vaccine.
SA Health chief medical officer Paddy Phillips said while the number of cases in South Australia were relatively low, the cyclical nature of whooping cough meant an increase in cases was likely.
“Whooping cough is a serious respiratory infection, which is particularly dangerous in very young infants,” Professor Phillips said.
“We know the number of whooping cough cases increases sharply every four to five years so it’s important that we prepare ourselves now for a spike in numbers.”
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