A suite of animations and educational material aimed at improving ear health within the Aboriginal community in Australia was launched by the Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Cooperative in Newcastle, Australia.

Lil Mike is the brainchild of leading ENT Specialist and associate professor Kelvin Kong, launched to coincide with Australia’s National Hearing Week.

Awabakal CEO Don MacAskill said that Lil Mike was part of Awabakal’s work to encourage Aboriginal people to be proactive about their family’s health. “There are no other tools like this available in Australia,” MacAskill said. “Aboriginal people are 10 times more likely to suffer from ear disease and hearing loss than other Australians. What we wanted to create was a tool that would attract interest, educate and empower Aboriginal people to take action.”

Lil Mike was designed and produced under the guidance of Awabakal’s Hearing Health team and Dr Kong, and was created in partnership with local production company, Rollingball. Lil Mike was co-produced by Oscar nominee, Steve Palvolsky and was animated by Phil Jennings who has worked on the film, Happy Feet.

It uses culturally appropriate evidence based information to improve understanding of ear health in a package that is fun and interactive. It includes animations, a screening tool and examples of patient journeys and will be available at the Awabakal website.

Dr Kong said that Aboriginal ear health is at 4th world status. “No longer are we looking at the depravity of Aboriginal hearing health,” he says. “We are looking at positive ways of changing the statistics.”

Source: Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Cooperative