The Australian Council of Stoma Associations Inc. (ACSA) is a National Body representing 22 ostomy associations throughout Australia which provide personal support, care, information, encouragement and assistance to persons who, as a result of radical surgery as a result of disease, injury, birth defect or other causes, have an opening in the abdomen (called a“stoma”) for the evacuation of products from the bowel or bladder. People who have a stoma no longer have normal bowel or bladder function and must wear a disposable bag, or appliance, attached to their abdomen for the collection of bodily waste. These appliances are called stoma appliances or ostomy bags. They are more popularly known as “colostomy bags” (although there are other types of bags).
A stoma is also referred to as an "ostomy" because the surgical procedure by which a stoma is formed is called ostomy surgery. Types of ostomy surgery include colostomy, ileostomy and urostomy (also known as ileal conduit).
ACSA, as the National Peak Body, liaises with government departments, ostomy product suppliers, and associated and related groups on behalf of all ostomy associations. It also provides an advocacy and information service to its 22 affiliated associations.
One of ACSA’s major activities is the management of the “Stoma Appliance Scheme” in conjunction with the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing. Under this Scheme ostomy appliances and associated products are supplied to approximately 36,000 members usually on a monthly basis. Annually this involves over 300,000 individual orders which are assembled from more than 2,000 product lines. The value of ostomy appliances supplied nationally is about $80 million per year.
Other activities of ACSA include the publication of a journal, 'Ostomy Australia’ which provides up-to-date information on developments in ostomy products and on activities within the ostomy movement, the provision of assistance to disadvantaged ostomates in other countries through 'the Australia Fund', and international liaison through membership of the International Ostomy Association.
ACSA is committed to ensuring the continuation of the Australian Stoma Appliance Scheme and the improvement of the quality of life of Australian ostomates.