Australian Government Urged To Focus on Health of Indigenous Children

by VR Sreeraman on  April 7, 2009 at 2:01 PM Child Health News   - G J E 4
 Australian Government Urged To Focus on Health of Indigenous Children
On Close the Gap Day, the AMA has urged governments to improve child health services in Indigenous communities.

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, said more work needed to be done to close the 17 year life expectancy gap between Australia's 500,000 Indigenous people and their fellow citizens.

"One of the keys to closing the gap is improving the health of Indigenous children. It is intolerable that in a wealthy country like Australia, Indigenous children are two to three times more likely to die during the first 12 months of life than their non-Indigenous counterparts," Dr Capolingua, said.

"We need more support for Indigenous community primary health care services which cater specifically to mothers and children."

Dr Capolingua said Federal, State and Territory Governments had taken important first steps towards improving the health of Indigenous Australians, including committing an extra $1.6 billion in funding.

"This funding commitment is very welcome. But we need to make sure this money is spent in the most effective way possible. Benchmarks and targets need to be adopted to ensure that we are heading in the right direction and that real progress is being made in Indigenous health.

"We need to attract more doctors to work in Aboriginal medical services and recruit and train more Indigenous doctors and health workers."

Dr Capolingua said many Australians who lived in cities and large towns thought of Aboriginal people as living in remote areas.

"In reality, a third of Indigenous people live in major cities. Indigenous people are our neighbours, friends and work colleagues. We need to ensure they enjoy the same good health as other Australians," she said.

Source: AMA

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