This management plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations (Management Plan) has been developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19 and endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must be involved in assessing COVID-19 risk and responses in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Responses must be centred on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s perspectives, ways of living and culture developed and implemented with culture as a core underlying positive determinant.
- A high prevalence of co-morbidities place some individuals and communities at risk of contracting more severe cases of COVID-19. In addition, older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (over 50) and children who have experienced reduced quality of nutrition may also present as immunocompromised. This underscores why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are highly vulnerable, necessitating dedicated response and preparedness planning.
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and the community controlled sector will provide advice on the feasibility and impact of COVID-19 outbreak control measures on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; and support dissemination and advice on the measures.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at a higher risk from morbidity and mortality during a pandemic and for more rapid spread of disease, particularly within discrete communities. Pandemic preparedness requires engaging and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to develop culturally appropriate and safe risk reduction and pandemic strategies. This Management Plan outlines the key issues and consideration in planning, response and management for COVID-19 that need to be addressed at all levels of governance, in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders, including with the impacted communities themselves.