Indigenous organizations have called on the medical profession to push Government for action on the inequality of health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
In an editorial in the Medical Journal of Australia, Dr Mark Wenitong, President of the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, and his co-authors from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, urge medical professionals to lend their support to a campaign for better health care for Indigenous Australians.
A coalition of Indigenous and non-Indigenous medical, health and human rights organizations are re-launching an open letter to all governments to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum in which an overwhelming majority of the Australian population voted to end discrimination against Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.
Dr Wenitong says the purpose of the letter, originally published late last year, is to campaign for a national commitment to a plan of action to close the 17 year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
"Unity on this matter as a profession sends a powerful message that we are both willing and able to make the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples a top health priority," he says.
Dr Wenitong suggests that a united medical profession could shift public opinion and motivate political will.