Partnership brings brighter future for Aboriginal kids

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Telethon Kids Institute Ear Health Aboriginal researcher Natasha Morrison with participants in the Urban Aboriginal Ear Health Program.
496555pa Telethon Kids Institute Ear Health Aboriginal researcher Natasha Morrison with participants in the Urban Aboriginal Ear Health Program.

ESSENTIAL ear surgery will be free at St John of God Murdoch Hospital for aboriginal children suffering from severe ear infections.

Telethon Kids Institute, Paediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon Dr George Sim and St John of God Murdoch Hospital have teamed up to offer surgery at no cost for a group of Aboriginal kids needing specialist ear treatment.

The Telethon Kids Institute’s Urban Aboriginal Ear Health existing program aims to reduce the burden of ear infections in children most in need of urgent surgery.

However, the new partnership will now allow children involved in the program to have free access to grommet surgery with minimal wait times to ensure they receive crucial treatment as early as possible.

The current wait time for middle ear infection treatment can be up to two-and-a-half years with about half of all Aboriginal children are affected which can result in long-term consequences.

“Normal hearing levels are essential at this stage of development, so I am grateful this partnership will allow me to operate in a very short time scale and improve their hearing levels when kids need it most,” said Dr Sim said.

Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Dr Chris Brennan-Jones, who is based at Telethon Kids Institute, said fast-tracked treatment will make a huge difference to the lives of these children.

“During the waiting period infections get worse, hearing loss may increase and learning suffers – leading to issues surrounding education, behaviour, social relationships, employment and other future endeavours – that’s why early treatment is so vital,” he said.