The continuing ‘Close the Gap’ campaign has drawn attention to disparities in Indigenous health compared with the health of non-Indigenous Australians. Statistics show that the health of Indigenous Australians is roughly the same as the health of people in developing countries – far below the health of people in a prosperous and wealthy nation like Australia.
Contrasted with the health status of Indigenous peoples in comparable nations like New Zealand, Canada and the US, Australia’s Indigenous health statistics are by far the worst. Before European settlement, Indigenous Australians had complex medical systems including traditional healers and bush medicine to deal with their health issues. Settlement introduced diseases like influenza and smallpox (which wiped out whole areas of population in the 18th century) and products like white sugar and tobacco that have had an enormous impact on the Indigenous population over the last 200 years.
Health experts argue that approaches to Indigenous health need to take into account this history as well as the impact of past trauma on health, while including housing, education, access to healthy foods and many other community factors alongside a medical approach.
View high profile and everyday Australians speaking about Indigenous health. Directed and Presented by Tim Gibbs.
EMBED VIDEO Video on page: http://www.reconcile.org.au/getsmart/pages/get-really-smart/health.php
For more information visit the following links:
The health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
A fact sheet produced by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.
Achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality within a generation – a human rights based approach.
Chapter Two of the 2005 Social Justice Report.
Indigenous health: chronically inadequate responses to damning statistics.
An article from the Medical Journal of Australia that queries why such a big gap remains between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous health in crisis.
Find out about the ‘Close the Gap’ campaign to improve Indigenous health.
Success Stories in Indigenous Health.
Follow this link to view Success Stories in Indigenous Health, a recent collaboration of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), the Rio Tinto Aboriginal Foundation and the Mercy Foundation.
A Statistical Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia.
A summary of statistics prepared by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
Implications of land rights reform for Indigenous health.
This article discusses the nexus between Indigenous health and living ‘on country’.
The Australian Indigenous Doctors Association.
The association for Indigenous doctors and medical students, providing support and advice on issues relating to the Indigenous health workforce and health policy.