There is definite optimism amongst researchers who have seen evident improvement in the death rates of Aborigines suffering chronic illnesses. This is certainly a proof of the benefits of improved healthcare that has brought down death rates for diseases. This is also an indication that further inflow of funds into healthcare will see far more results in reduction of diseases that will enable people with good health and quality of life.
The study's leader, David Thomas, of the Menzies School of Health Research, says the success achieved is an evidence of the ceaseless efforts of indigenous health workers, which has made helped bridging the chasm in healthcare. Dr Thomas explained how a systematic approach to disease management that renders closer monitoring, efficient follow-up and meticulous health care could actually reverse the death rates.
Analyzing the statistics from 1977 to 2001, the team found a distinct change after 1989.
The deaths due to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which was rising at 3.5 per cent a year, came down to 5.7 per cent in the 1990s, while diabetes-related deaths declined from 3.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent a year.
Study co-author Professor Ian Anderson, the director of Melbourne University's Center for Health and Society, was happy with the heath investment that yielded good results, but this is also a signal that more needs to be done. Pat Anderson, of the Co-operative Research Center for Aboriginal Health, said the study has established that funds pumped into primary health care has made a world of difference to Aboriginal health.