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Hayden T.J.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2011

This study measured the frequency and geographical extent of peaks in asthma presentations to emergency departments in inland NSW; it assessed the characteristics of patients who presented at peak presentation times during the rye grass pollination season (October-November) and at other times of the year. Data describing over 13 years of daily emergency department presentations with a provisional diagnosis of asthma at nine inland NSW base hospitals were assembled. Days of counts in the top 0.1 percentile for each emergency department were classified as peak asthma count days. While the rye grass pollen season accounts for only 17% of days in the year, 53% of peak asthma count days fell within that period. Patients aged over 14 years represented 74% of visits on peak asthma count days during the pollen season and 50% on peak days at other times of the year. Under the right climatic conditions, rye grass pollen may be responsible for presentations for acute asthma to emergency departments in inland NSW. Source

Biggs J.S.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2011

The Population Health Division of the NSW Department of Health has developed a 5-year strategy to improve the effectiveness of its resource investment in population health research. This paper describes the development of the strategy, Promoting the generation and effective use of population health research in NSW: a Strategy for NSW Health 2011-2015. A review of Australian and international strategic research documents and stakeholder interviews was conducted to support the development of the strategy. The findings from these two processes influenced the structure of the document and supported the inclusion of strategies and actions to assist with identifying research priorities, improving communication, enhancing networks and partnerships, supporting workforce development initiatives, providing research infrastructure, enhancing research and the use of research evidence and streamlining research governance and ethics processes. Small group discussions and a detailed review of literature were conducted to refine the thinking around four of the more complex aspects of the strategy. Finally, a broad consultation process was used to test the face validity of the proposed strategy content. Source

Thomas S.L.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2013

Lead poses a health risk to young children with detrimental effects on their intellectual development. Attendance rates for Aboriginal children at routine blood lead screening and at follow-up appointments in Broken Hill, NSW, have declined in recent years. This study sought to identify strategies to improve the participation of Aboriginal children aged 1-4 years in blood lead screening services in Broken Hill. Attendance rates during the period 2000-2010 were determined using the Broken Hill Lead Management database. From June to August 2011, Aboriginal community members, service providers and public health staff were invited to interviews and focus groups to explore barriers, enablers and suggestions for improving participation. In 2009, 27% of Aboriginal children aged 1-4 years attended blood lead screening and 29% of these children with blood lead levels over 15 μg/dL attended follow-up appointments. Barriers to participation in lead screening services included community perceptions, reduced service capacity, socio-economic and interorganisational factors. Enablers included using a culturally acceptable model, linking lead screening with routine health checks and using the finger-prick method of testing. The final report for the study included recommendations to improve participation rates of Aboriginal children including using social marketing, formalising collaboration between health services, supporting disadvantaged families and employing an Aboriginal Health Worker. Source

Maher L.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2012

To assess the availability, accessibility and uptake of eye health services for Aboriginal people in western NSW in 2010. The use of document review, observational visits, key stakeholder consultation and service data reviews, including number of cataract operations performed, to determine regional service availability and use. Aboriginal people in western NSW have a lower uptake of tertiary eye health services, with cataract surgery rates of 1750 per million for Aboriginal people and 9702 per million for non-Aboriginal people. Public ophthalmology clinics increase access to tertiary services for Aboriginal people. Eye health services are not equally available and accessible for Aboriginal people in western NSW. Increasing the availability of culturally competent public ophthalmology clinics may increase access to tertiary ophthalmology services for Aboriginal people. The report of the review was published online, and outlines a list of recommendations. Source

Lowbridge C.P.,NSW Public Health Officer Training Program
New South Wales public health bulletin | Year: 2012

Q fever is the most frequently notified zoonotic infection in NSW residents. The past decade has seen the introduction of a targeted national Q fever vaccination program. We undertook a descriptive analysis of Q fever notifications in NSW, for the period 2001-2010. A total of 1912 cases of Q fever were notified in NSW between 2001 and 2010 (average 2.8 per 100 000 persons per annum). The majority of Q fever cases were reported in men, aged 40-59 years, living in rural NSW and working in agricultural related occupations. The results suggest changes in the epidemiology of Q fever in response to the targeted vaccination program. Source

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