For eye health and more: see AJRH on-line

26 April 2013

Aboriginal people are affected by blindness six times more than other Australians. This is despite the fact that the majority of eye conditions can be treated if a person’s eyes are examined in time. There was a special Colloquium on this critical issue at the 12th National Rural Health Conference.

And now the latest issue of Australian Journal of Rural Health, available to subscribers on- line, carries a report on another piece of original research on the topic.

Andrea I Boudville and others explore the role of primary health care in Indigenous eye care, and propose better ways to identify, treat and refer vision problems at the primary care level. They also identify ways to strengthen the capacity of primary care and specialist eye care services to meet the eye care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

A greater proportion of people in rural and remote areas consume alcohol at rates that are dangerous to their health than is the case for people in the major cities. Men and young adults are at particular risk. A newly-released study shows how GPs can play a vital role in minimising the risks associated with this.

In their study published in the AJRH, Catherine Brennan and others report on a pilot study for a screening and intervention method for harmful alcohol use. They discovered that few GPs addressed the issue of alcohol when they were with patients, yet a simple one-hour training program improved GP knowledge and confidence in implementing alcohol screening and intervention when necessary.

A Northwest Queensland pilot study by Torres Woolley and others discovered the positive effect of doctors having culturally respectful communication skills when dealing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. The study also suggests that medical students’ training may be deficient in relation to the competence developed on some of the lifestyle and social determinants of health experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The latest edition of AJRH also includes articles on attracting more psychologists to rural and remote areas, and a physical activity study in three regional Queensland areas.

The Table of Contents and paper abstracts can be accessed at http://nrha.ruralhealth.org.au/ajrh/?IntCatId=20 or on the website of the AJRH’s publisher, Wiley- Blackwell: wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/AJR