On National Close the Gap Day it’s critical political leaders around the country recognise the importance of supporting Aboriginal Community Controlled Health as the key mechanism for improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Justin Mohamed, Chair of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), said it was widely acknowledged that culturally appropriate healthcare services make a real difference.
“Healthcare services provided by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people must continue to be supported and invested in if governments are serious about achieving health equality,” Mr Mohamed said.
“The latest Closing the Gap Report released by the Gillard Government last month highlighted the vital role of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health in improving health outcomes in life expectancy and child mortality.
“Any genuine effort to close the gap on Aboriginal health must have Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations at its core.”
Mr Mohamed said Aboriginal people were concerned that political leaders had not renewed their funding commitment to the Close the Gap strategy – due to expire in June this year.
He said Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations are the preferred provider in the delivery and are largely responsible for the health gains showcased in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Performance Framework 2012.
“It is imperative that governments at state and national level recommit to the objectives of the Close the Gap strategy and renew their funding commitment through the National Partnership Agreements and ensure improved implementation of any new commitment is actioned immediately and into the future.
“There are many services and, more importantly, individuals and their families relying on programs that currently have no certainty past June 2013.
“We are urging the Government to make a significant announcement sooner rather than later.”
Close the Gap Day on 21 March is being celebrated by tens of thousands of people across Australia to highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and urge government action.