The Deadly Ears Program aims to reduce the high rates of conductive hearing loss attributable to middle ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children by;
In 2009, a comprehensive framework was launched to address middle ear disease in Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
This framework describes the actions needed to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, and to reduce the burden of the disease.
The actions target specific improvements to health, education and family services to communities, and the embedding of essential changes to some important “systems” that govern health, education and family service delivery and policy.
These actions are the responsibility of a number of agencies. The Deadly Ears Program chairs a steering committee made up of the following:
|Agency||Division / Unit within Agency|
|Queensland Health||Deadly Ears Program|
|Child and Youth Community Health Services
|Division of Chief Health Officer|
|Child Health and Safety Unit|
|Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Branch|
|Queensland Department of Education and Training||Student Services Branch and Disability Services Support Unit|
|The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care|
|Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing||Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (Canberra)|
|Australian Hearing||Indigenous Services|
This steering committee prepares an annual Action Plan, describing what each agency is doing to achieve the targets described in the Deadly Ears, Deadly Kids and Deadly Communities framework. Examples of this work are below.
|Changes to the Personal Health Record||Deadly Kids can Listen and Learn|
The framework was independently evaluated by The University of Queensland during 2014 to see if the actions implemented over the last five years were making a positive difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The university finalised the evaluation report in March 2015 and the overall finding was that the actions implemented since 2009 were making inroads towards reducing the incidence and impacts of middle ear disease and associated hearing loss on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Queensland.
Whilst the overall finding was welcomed, the report noted that ongoing effort is needed between the health, early childhood and schooling sectors to prevent, treat and manage middle disease and its impacts on childhood development if long-term and sustained health gains are to be made in Queensland.
The evaluation report contained 11 recommendations, all of which have been accepted by Children’s Health Queensland. The recommendations and findings in the report are being used to inform the development of the next framework which is on track to be released in late 2015.
A copy of the evaluation report can be accessed here:
A video summary of the evaluation report.
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