Rural-remote Aboriginal communities and community organisations are critical partners as we work toward a vaccine for Strep A.
The success of this initiative will be based upon the strengths of Aboriginal organisations, communities and families.
Our community engagement and capacity building process is being developed in collaboration with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, its state and territory peak bodies and RHDAustralia. These organisations are founding partners of the END RHD, which aims to eliminate rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Australia by 2031.
The ASAVI community engagement and capacity building process will:
- Inform communities about ASAVI and its mission to accelerate development of a Strep A vaccine.
- Develop community and health worker knowledge around Strep A diseases and discuss the role a successful vaccine could play in their prevention.
- Work with targeted Aboriginal communities to develop community engagement plans that will promote the ability of potential trial participants to make a fully informed decision about their participation in a possible future Strep A vaccine trial.
- Undertake the co-design and implementation of community-based studies that will enable an evidence-based approach in our Aboriginal community-oriented activities.
In Australia, Strep A diseases disproportionately affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people:
- Up to 84 percent of remote Indigenous Australian children present to community clinics with skin sores at least once before their first birthday.
- Aboriginal children are 15 times more likely to be hospitalised for treatment of a skin infection compared to non-Aboriginal children.
- Eighty-nine percent of new cases of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) – the precursor to rheumatic heart disease (RHD) – occur among Indigenous Australians.
- Compared to non-Indigenous Australians, Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is 61 times more prevalent in Indigenous Australians.
- Rates of Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Diseases (RHD) amongst Indigenous Australians are the highest in the Northern Territory, followed by Western Australia and Queensland.
The ASAVI Indigenous Advisory Board is comprised of senior Aboriginal leaders and vaccinology experts, and provides oversight to all aspects of the initiative.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are referred to as Indigenous Australians throughout this website.