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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : November 5th 2008
MB INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Thursday, November 6, 2008 5 NEWS www.innerwestweekly.com.au Whooping warning AN epidemic of whooping cough has hit the Inner West with the area's public health director pre- dicting a record number of cases this year. ''Some of our most recent cases appear to be coming from the Summer Hill area,'' said Dr Stephen Conaty, public health di- rector for the Sydney South West Area Health Service. This year, there have been 11 reported cases of whooping cough (also known as pertussis) in the Strathfield local government area, 17 in the Ashfield LGA and three in the Burwood LGA. ''Pertussis tends to occur in waves with high peak or epidemic years,'' Dr Conaty said. ''It looks like we're going to have a moderately high number this year,'' he said, estimating that 900 cases will be reported by December. Dr Conaty said in September there were 107 cases, with a simi- lar figure expected for October. The area health service, which covers 15 LGAs, had 1027 cases in 2005, and 902 in 2006. The figure dropped to 330 last year. ''This year, particularly from September, we can certainly say we are seeing an increase in the Inner West,'' Dr Conaty said. ''What's driving this is probably adolescents and adults who have not been immunised, have not completed their immunisation or whose immunity has waned.'' He said young children and babies were most at risk and should see a doctor immediately if exposed to someone diagnosed with whooping cough. Abuse centre to close FIONA BRADY Ann in Ashfield fears for the future of vulnerable women now that Dympna House is closing. Picture: PHIL BLATCH A VICTIM of child sexual abuse says vulnerable women and chil- dren will suffer when a Haberfield-based counselling centre closes next month. Dympna House, a community- based organisation which de- scribes itself as ''a centre of excel- lence in child sexual assault'' matters, will close on December 12.A spokeswoman for the Sydney South West Area Health Service, which co-funds the service with the State Department of Com- munity Services, said the closure was due to ''unresolved manage- ment issues''. She said clients from across the Inner West will be supported through the closure and the centre will be re-opened under new man- agement when a new provider is found. But one of those clients, Ann (not her real name), said she and others feel ''lost'' at the thought of the closure. Ann, who is now in her 20s, was raped at the age of seven. She attended Dympna House for counselling when she was in her teens and said she had built up her confidence to start group sessions there later this month. ''We all feel like tiny people because of this,'' she said. ''It takes women and children a long, long time to open up to a counsellor, so it's not as simple as just going somewhere else. She said if victims had to go to other places, they had to rehash the past with a new counsellor. Ann said she feared some women might lapse into de- pression or drug and alcohol ad- diction or even feel suicidal as a result of the centre's uncertain future. A spokeswoman for the health service said the organisation had had three reviews since 2005. ''Following its most recent, inde- pendent review, the organisation has been unable to implement important recommendations to improve services to clients,'' she said.'' Balmain State Labor MP and Minister for Women Verity Firth has described the centre's tempor- ary closure as ''very disappoint- ing''. ''It was clear Dympna House was not working and changes needed to be made for the benefit of the clients,'' Ms Firth said. 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October 29 2008
November 12th 2008