NACCHO summit media NITV The Australian :Call for both sides to close the Aboriginal gap

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Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott will today be urged to put Aboriginal health on their agendas this election campaign.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation chairman Justin Mohamed said yesterday it was disappointing the focus on Aboriginal affairs so far had been on education and economic development with barely a mention of the need to improve indigenous health.

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“Addressing Aboriginal education and employment and stimulating economic development are critical issues, but our people must be healthy for them to come to fruition,” Mr Mohamed said at the body’s inaugural National Aboriginal Primary Health Care Summit in Adelaide.

“We still have a massive health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians, with a life expectancy up to 17 years different.

“We can’t afford to take the focus off improving the health of our people, and many in our communities are waiting to see concrete policies and commitments from all parties in this area.”

Mr Mohamed said NACCHO’s 10-point Investing in Healthy Futures for Generational Change gave a framework for all political parties to work with.

“We have concrete evidence that Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands is what is really making the difference in achieving better health outcomes for our people,” he said.

He pointed to the improvements in Aboriginal child birth weights, maternal health and management of chronic diseases recorded by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in their Healthy for Life Report Card.

“We need to capitalise on these gains,” he said. “We can’t be complacent when it comes to Aboriginal health and we need to see all political parties take it seriously.

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