The generosity of the Charters Towers community has ensured local indigenous people who are more at risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 have been able to access toilet paper.

NAPHL Senior Indigenous Care Coordinator Wendy Allan said many of her clients hadn’t been able to find toilet paper and had been forced to use substitutes.

She had also tried to find toilet paper in local supermarkets but after having no luck, the Charters Towers community banded together and donated 40 toilet rolls to NAPHL’s ITC program.

“I lined up with over 100 other people last week hoping to get toilet paper to drop off to our clients when doing home visits. Guess what happened? No toilet paper,” she said.

“Then I received a call from a local lady who had overheard my conversation with a client telling her that I couldn’t get any toilet paper for her.

“She had put the word out in Charters Towers and the community donated to our program for our clients over 40 rolls of toilet paper.

“This week I have had the pleasure of delivering toilet paper along with posters for clients to display at their point of access to let family and other services providers know that they are high risk.”

As part of NAPHL’s Integrated Team Care (ITC) Program, Ms Allan supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with chronic health conditions to navigate the health system and receive the health care they require, while ensuring their care is culturally appropriate.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are at a higher risk of developing serious symptoms due to COVID-19 infection and have been advised by the Australian Government that if they are over 50 and have a pre-existing medical condition, to not leave their home unless absolutely necessary.

Ms Allan said the toilet rolls had helped to lift the spirits of her clients who had been struggling to find essentials.

“Over the last couple of weeks while attending client support in all communities we have been hearing the same story – no loo paper,” she said.

“I have listened to their heartbreak when they have gone to do their shop and not been able to buy toilet paper.

“These people are some of the most at-risk people in our communities with chronic health conditions and a life expectancy much lower than their non-indigenous community members.”

The ITC program is delivered by Northern Australia Primary Health Limited (NAPHL) with funding from the Australian Government through the Primary Health Network.