Eugene’s Mate: “Unreasonably negative and incorrigibly antagonistic attitude towards Congress …

Comment on The millions and the misery by Jones.

Eugene’s Mate: “Unreasonably negative and incorrigibly antagonistic attitude towards Congress pathological denial of Congress’s achievements? Very unfairly, maligning Congress.”
Any organisation that gets more than $40m a year of taxpayer money, has $20m unspent and has a stake in CentreCorp with assets of more than $50m absolutely needs to be held accountable.
It worries me that you fall back on excuses such as saying that poverty is the main driver of renal disease (and of course Congress can’t change that).
How about, a sedentary lifestyle, living in squalor, poor diet, alcohol and smoking, all of which Congress should be able to do something about.
But they haven’t despite all the millions.
A new approach is needed.
Take diabetes:
Although there are other factors, diabetes is a major cause of end stage renal disease. Many of us have watched the progression from diabetes to end stage over the years.
I’ve personally seen it a dozen times or more.
Uncontrolled diabetes is rampant in our community and the deaths are mounting.
Congress has largely failed to stem the tide so we need to try something else.
That is a medical approach.
Instead of expensively trying to change behaviour and failing we need new drugs and medical devices.
That means more money for research and probably less for Congress.
Of course that is confronting and will get the reaction we see from you.
But Aboriginal health is bigger than Congress and is the priority.
A medical approach has the potential to save many hundreds of millions of dollars and improve Aboriginal lives on a large scale.
That claim cannot be made about Congress.

Jones Also Commented

The millions and the misery
Evelyne, the research to quantify the extent of HTLV-1 was carried out years ago and the results were scary for Aboriginal people.
There will be a large death toll in coming years.
Very little is being done to discover a drug to treat it.
Your question has broader implications.
Should the taxpayer keep funding preventative programs to the extent we do when they are not working?
Wouldn’t Aboriginal health be improved far more by putting the money into the development of medical responses.
For example, there is an urgent need for implanted insulin delivery devices that require diabetics to do nothing.
There are several life threatening diseases, HTLV-1 being just one, that urgently need medical approaches such as drug treatments for prevention and/or cure.
Aboriginal health would be improved far more by redirecting at least some of the tens of millions wasted on Congress to researching new treatments.


The millions and the misery
Eugene’s Mate: Let’s cut to the chase.
The result of a failure of type two diabetes prevention and control programs is often end stage renal disease.
So the incidence of this terminal disease is a good measure of the success or failure of diabetes programs for which Congress has responsibility.
The NT has the highest incidence and prevalence of kidney disease in Australia.
The 2014 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Health Survey showed the prevalence of disease markers amongst Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory was 40% and non-Indigenous of 9%.
According to Menzies School of Health research “demand for dialysis has been sustained and incidence rates have not plateaued”.
In other words the incidence of end stage disease is out of control despite the tens of millions of funding provided to Congress.
Tens of millions now have to be poured into dialysis treatment.
Soon it will be hundreds of millions as the numbers of patients is soaring.
I am unable to agree that Congress has long been a leader and good practitioner in prevention and early intervention strategies and practices.


The millions and the misery
Eugene’s mate: You claim that “in the last 20 years the Congress workforce has contributed greatly to improving the life expectancy of local Aboriginal people and reducing the gap with other Centralian residents”.
One would expect some positive outcomes from the expenditure over 20 years of perhaps half a billion dollars.
But there is very little hard evidence for it.
Congress annual reports are full of colourful pics of projects being carried out but the hard data on outcomes is almost always missing.
The focus of much of their spending is preventative and most of this has been wasted.
For example, very few Aboriginal clients with diabetes go to Congress to have their blood sugar levels checked.
Most have uncontrolled diabetes with raging blood sugar levels that damage every organ of their bodies.
Most keep drinking.
Diets do not change.
Very few turn up for dialysis until their headaches drive them to do so.
Congress has not changed any of this.
The only “success” is extended lifespan but this is due to medical intervention, people can live longer with chronic disease these days.
Another “success” is the survival rate of babies but once again this is due to medical intervention.
Congress takes credit for Alice Springs Hospital successes.
Congress shows very little success for the tax dollars it has received.


Recent Comments by Jones

Dumbing down Alice Springs
We all know that the NT Government is heavily mired in crippling debt.
Of course, the CDU has to be downsized and it must happen in a sensible manner.
Simply, which courses are producing real outcomes, i.e. getting students jobs?
Higher education for remote students is laudable but has failed at huge expense over many years.
How many Aboriginal teachers and nurses are there who are actually employed?
Almost none.
There are many courses that lead to almost zero employment outcomes.
Art courses in the Correctional Centre is one of them and this must be discontinued.
Music was abolished some time ago but somehow art survived.
The NT can no longer pay for recreational courses.
The NT Government and CDU do have to slash costs but should maintain the courses and staff that are producing real employment outcomes.
The rest do have to go and the sooner the better. We are broke.


Mating odour to catch feral cats
Cats roam and I wonder how many much-loved pet cats have ended up on this rural property.
Cats should always be trapped and taken to the local shelter.
Shelter staff and volunteers will then check for a microchip to see if there is a registered owner and advertise online to try to re-home. They are dealt with humanely at all times.


Back to the future with Warren Snowdon
@ Frank Baarda: The helium is a byproduct of Central Petroleum’s (ASX CTP) Mt Kitty petroleum system to the far west of Alice Springs near the Kintore community.
The Suprise 1 well at Mt Kitty pumped oil for more than a year that was transported in tankers. Little has been reported by the company on the commercial possibilities of the helium.


End of search for Monika Billen
My drone flying friends say that not finding Monika is a disgrace.
Forget the old tech ground searches.
Fly the latest high tech drones equipped with high-resolution cameras or video and analyse the results.
She would have been found on day two after being reported missing.
After an initial cost of perhaps $100,000 the drone system would pay for itself within a year and the tourist industry would be better off.


The financial crisis in the Northern Territory
James, I suspect that remote community infrastructure does add to the NT’s revenue stream, as it always has. Case in point (admittedly dated):
Federal grant of $500,000 for remote preschool.
NT admin tax $250,000.
Old asbestos clad science block sent to the community (instead of dumping it}.
Over the next three months, Alice Springs tradies renovate the building.
There is no money left for painting so that becomes a school expense.
Darwin designed building has no security so is broken into and trashed, then closed for six months as the school tries to get it repaired.
So the NT Government gets a windfall profit, Alice Springs businesses do well and the community gets a high maintenance asbestos building.


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