Health in Focus Newsletter
Health in Focus

December 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of the NSW Health e-bulletin, Health in Focus. This quarterly update features the latest news from the largest public health system in Australia.

If you have any suggestions, comments or ideas for future editions, please email us.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to colleagues and others who may be interested, and encourage them to subscribe online.

Summer flu campaign launched

Q fever add. Farmer feeding a cow. Protect yourself. Protect your family.

NSW Health has launched its summer flu campaign to encourage people to get a flu shot before they travel overseas.

The summer flu campaign runs until 29 February 2020 and targets people travelling to the Northern Hemisphere - encouraging them to get a flu shot at least two weeks before travelling, regardless if they had one for our winter season.

There were 7474 flu cases notified in NSW in the first three months of 2019 — more than double in the same period in 2018 and more than three times the number in 2017. It is thought that this high level of flu contributed to an early start to the flu season in 2019.

Read more about summer flu campaign

Free life-saving take home naloxone

Q fever add. Farmer feeding a cow. Protect yourself. Protect your family.

Naloxone is a life-saving medicine which can reverse an opioid overdose.

NSW Health needle and syringe programs and alcohol and other drug services are starting to supply free take-home naloxone to people at risk of experiencing or witnessing an opioid overdose, and teaching them how to use it.

Free take home naloxone is also now available from some community pharmacies in NSW from 1 December 2019.

More than three people in Australia die each day from overdosing on opioids such as codeine, fentanyl, morphine and heroin.

Read more about opioid overdose response and take home naloxone

National Biobanking Summit

Don't spread flu poster with photo of a hand with faces drawn on it
In an important step for advancing biobanking research and technology in Australia, the first National Biobanking Summit was held on 21 October at the University of Sydney.

It brought together more than 90 experts from all over Australia to begin a conversation about developing a national biobanking strategy.

The areas of expertise covered included biobanking, policy, clinical care, health and medical research, data management and linkage and consumer perspectives.
Read more about National Biobanking Summit

Making HIV testing more easily accessible

Still from video of HIV test

Sexual health clinics across NSW are making HIV testing more easily accessible with the introduction of the Dried Blood Spot Testing Kit.

This is a private and discreet way to test for HIV without needing to see a doctor. A test kit is delivered by mail and results are sent by text, email or telephone.

NSW has made significant progress towards the goal of virtually eliminating HIV transmission by 2020, with a 13 per cent drop in the number of new diagnoses in NSW from January to September, compared to the previous five year average.

Read more about HIV testing

New resources to reduce stillbirth

Still from video of HIV test

Pregnant women are being encouraged to sleep on their side to avoid stillbirth in a new Australia-wide education campaign, following evidence showing sleep position can halve the risk of a late-pregnancy stillbirth.

New Side Sleep resources, including Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal versions of posters and flyers for clinicians and pregnant women, have been developed as part of funding of $100,000 grant provided by the NSW Government to the Stillbirth Foundation Australia to develop materials on side sleeping.

Read more about reducing stillbirth

NSW Health launches public awareness campaign

Still from video of HIV test

This festive season, NSW Health is running a public awareness campaign to remind the community that aggression against NSW Health hospital staff is not acceptable.

A social media campaign was launched on 2 December 2019 and will run until 28 January 2020, to coincide with the Christmas, New Year and Australia Day holiday period.

Show your support for our frontline workers by sharing our posts on Twitter and Facebook with your social media networks. #NSWHealth

To view the videos that have been created of NSW Health hospital staff discussing the impact of aggression on their roles, visit the NSW Health website.

Read more about the campaign

ADIS Webchat is live

Still from video of HIV test

The Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) has launched its new live text-based chat service. The web chat service is available to anyone in NSW affected by alcohol and other drugs, including people concerned about their own use, or about a family member or friend.

Web Chat is a live online conversation with a professional counsellor who can discuss alcohol or other drug concerns, answer any questions, provide information on relevant services or a referral if needed.

The service is provided by ADIS at St Vincent's Hospital, in partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health. Web chat counselling is free and confidential and available Monday to Friday 8.30am — 5pm.

Read more about ADIS webchat

National Alcohol Strategy 2019–2028 released

Still from video of HIV test

NSW Health has contributed to a new national strategy outlining Australia's agreed approach to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm.

The Strategy sets out four national priority areas:

  • Improving community safety by introducing safer drinking environments, reducing injury and violence, and improving treatment.
  • Improving management of the availability, price and promotion of alcohol.
  • Ensuring people have access to treatment, information and support services.
  • Improving awareness of how alcohol-related harm impacts the Australian community.

The new strategy reiterates Australia's commitment to the World Health Organization Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2013 — 2020, and includes a voluntary target to reduce harmful alcohol consumption by at least 10 per cent.

Read more about National Alcohol Strategy 2019—2028
Contact page owner: NSW Health