SOUTHERN Cross University’s iSISTAQUIT project has launched a compilation of catchy video clips in a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of culturally appropriate care in assisting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pregnant women to quit smoking.
iSISTAQUIT is a blended model of community support and traditional treatment by general practitioners and other health professionals to help these women stop smoking.
“Through our research we found there are three main things we need to address to really make a difference to the numbers of Aboriginal women who smoke during pregnancy.
“These are clinician training, better access to oral forms of nicotine replacement therapy and specific health promotion messages to address the challenges Indigenous women face when quitting,” said Coffs Harbor campus-based SCU Professor Gillian Gould, lead investigator and GP.
“Our iSISTAQUIT social media campaign, designed in consultation with community women and with Aboriginal Health Professionals, has a bright, upbeat energy to focus on the positive outlooks and celebrate the successes of the women.
“It’s important that Aboriginal women feel comfortable with their health professionals to talk about quitting, and it’s vital that a health professional has the appropriate approach to start the chat with minimising barriers.
“It’s the chat that could save a life.
“By pregnant women quitting smoking it can be an important cornerstone for the whole family’s respiratory health, by reducing tobacco smoking in the home, and by becoming community role models.
“We have found there is considerable evidence that smoking cessation counseling from health providers helps smokers quit smoking.
“However, lack of training in culturally sensitive smoking cessation methods may prevent them from delivering effective smoking cessation intervention.
“In an Australia-wide survey of 378 GPs and obstetricians working in mainstream and/or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander settings, we found clinicians lacked confidence in providing treatment to women and 75 percent agreed that training would help improve their management of smoking in pregnancy ,” said Professor Gold.
Tobacco smoking represents the most important preventable risk factor for chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
About 44 percent of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women smoke during pregnancy compared to twelve percent of their general population counterparts.
The initial six quit smoking videos launched on the YouTube Channel iSISTAQUIT TV showingcasing the importance of culturally appropriate care and communication in supporting women to stop smoking.
Research has found education and advice on their own are insufficient, and women are needing practical help and support with quitting.
iSISTAQUIT has also developed a training package to help equip health professionals to have culturally appropriate conversations with their patients.
Visit the iSISTAQUIT website to find out more at www.isistaquit.org.au.
By Andrea FERRARI