Tackling rheumatoid arthritis among first Australians

| May 30, 2019

In an Australian first, a national charity Dragon Claw is promoting Indigenous health in remote Indigenous communities in their own languages.

Dragon Claw is Australia’s fastest growing online service dedicated to patients and caregivers dealing with the dreadfully painful and often crippling diseases of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus.

On a recent visit to remote indigenous communities we saw that there was an urgent need to help local First Australian suffers. Many did not fully appreciate the importance of taking their medication on a regular basis.

First Australians have much higher rates of RA and lupus than the general population. Our intent is to provide simple and effective information that can meet the needs of all First Australians who have or are caring for someone diagnosed with these dreadfully painful diseases of RA and lupus.

To date the main problem of disseminating information has been language communication barriers, which this innovative approach rectifies. Focusing on encouraging the taking of prescribed medications, four local language videos have been produced along with one in English.

This video “Take Your Medicines” documents our work.

The four language videos will be able for download in August, accompanied by a pamphlet written in local language. We will be letting First Australians know that they and their families are not alone and there are services which can help them through this very difficult journey.

The Dragon Claw charity encourages self-care and provides non-clinical support for Australia’s 500,000 chronic sufferers of RA, lupus and juvenile idiopathic arthritis and their carers.

It started in 2014 from an observation that RA patients generally visit their rheumatologist for a total of two to three days per year, but with many being unsupported for the remaining 362 days, leading to pain, huge stress and isolation.