#ClosetheGap NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke and Minister @KenWyattMP #ClosetheGapDay Press Releases

  

“ Close the Gap Day is a day to acknowledge the critical role Aboriginal medical services and health professionals must play in turning around the significant health gap 

Last month, the government said it was committed to a new partnership with Aboriginal groups who presented the Redfern Statement to the Prime Minister, and the Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said Primary Health Networks must start working properly with ACCHOs.

“Yet right now just three or four of the 31 Primary Health Networks are genuinely working with theACCHO sector and the bulk of funding is going to mainstream services that are not showing results.

“Today, it’s time to remind governments of all levels that Aboriginal people must be equal partners in every single program and policy that affects them. It’s time for action not just more words.”

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke pictured above with Minister Ken Wyatt at the launch of NACCHO Healthy Futures last December

Download todays 2017 Close the Gap Report HERE : CTG Report 2017

Download copy NACCHO Healthy Futures Report Card Here

“As Minister for Indigenous Health it is my job to work for better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

Today, is National Close the Gap Day. We all want health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are equal to those of non-Indigenous people.

Vaccination coverage rates are the highest ever among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering school and since 2009 there has been an increase in children fully immunised – particularly at five years of age – from 76.8 per cent in 2008 to 95.2 per cent in 2016.

I want to acknowledge the role the Aboriginal Medical Services and State and Territory health systems for supporting the Commonwealth to achieve these figures.

Increasing immunisation is part of Closing the Gap and is community-driven, tailored, innovative and sensitive to individual and community needs “

The Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP  Minister for Indigenous Health see full story article 2 below

Close the Gap Day: a greater role for Aboriginal health services essential

Close the Gap Day is a day to acknowledge the critical role Aboriginal medical services and health professionals must play in turning around the significant health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation said today.

NACCHO Chair Matthew Cooke said after a decade of the Close the Gap campaign, programs andprojects managed by Aboriginal services on the ground in local communities are the only model proven to be making inroads in closing the Indigenous health gap.

In the past 12 months, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations provided almost 3 million episodes of care to over 340,000 clients and employed 3,300 Indigenous staff across Australia.

“Despite endless reports, studies and recommendations – just one in seven of the targets under the Closing the Gap Strategy are on track to be met by 2030,” Mr Cooke said.

“The lives of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people are still on average 10 years shorter, we have far higher incidences of chronic diseases such as Diabetes and cancer and our children have less access to good quality education than the average non-Indigenous Australians.

“The evidence tells us that Aboriginal people respond best to health care provided by Aboriginalpeople or controlled by the Aboriginal community.

“Last month, the government said it was committed to a new partnership with Aboriginal groups who presented the Redfern Statement to the Prime Minister, and the Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt said Primary Health Networks must start working properly with ACCHOs.

“Yet right now just three or four of the 31 Primary Health Networks are genuinely working with theACCHO sector and the bulk of funding is going to mainstream services that are not showing results.

“Today, it’s time to remind governments of all levels that Aboriginal people must be equal partners in every single program and policy that affects them. It’s time for action not just more words.”

Mr Cooke said at least one-third of the health gap can be attributed to the social and cultural determinants of health.

“If we are serious about improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people, governments at all levels must do more to join the dots between education, housing, employment and other determinants and make sure that Indigenous led solutions are at the centre of strategies that make those links.”

The political needle recently swung to the issue of childhood vaccination with a call for parents to do their own research before deciding if they would or should immunise their children.

The issue of childhood vaccination is too important to be left hanging as just another claim by a politician in a “post-truth” world where facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.

I believe it is important for parents to be fully informed of the medical facts before they make what can be life or death decisions affecting their children – and the children of others.

Immunisation is the most significant public health intervention in the past 200 years because it provides a safe and effective way to prevent the spread of many diseases that cause hospitalisation, serious ongoing health conditions and sometimes death.

Since the introduction of vaccination for children in Australia in 1932 deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases have fallen by 99 per cent despite a threefold increase in the Australian population.

As Minister for Indigenous Health it is my job to work for better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country.

Today, is National Close the Gap Day. We all want health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are equal to those of non-Indigenous people. Until that happens we cannot claim to have a truly universal health system that meets the needs of all Australians.

This year’s Closing the Gap Report has mixed results and provides us with an opportunity to consider our course and reinvigorate our commitment to this fundamental task. We are making some strides in tackling Indigenous health issues, however, we have to do more.

Immunisation rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are improving. Five-year-old Indigenous children have higher immunisation coverage than non-Indigenous five-year-olds.

In December 2016, Australian Immunisation Register data showed that 95.20 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged five were fully immunised compared with 93.19 per cent of all children of the same age.

These statistics confirm that we have nearly achieved the 2023 goal of 96 per cent of children aged five being fully immunised.

Vaccination coverage rates are the highest ever among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering school and since 2009 there has been an increase in children fully immunised – particularly at five years of age – from 76.8 per cent in 2008 to 95.2 per cent in 2016.

I want to acknowledge the role the Aboriginal Medical Services and State and Territory health systems for supporting the Commonwealth to achieve these figures.

Immunisation is one of the key goals of the Implementation Plan of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, which guides national action on Closing the Gap on health

Immunisation is critical for the health of children and the wider community. Interventions within the first three years of life have been shown to have the greatest impact on health and life outcomes.

There is a close relationship between health and educational outcomes. Developmental delays, including sight and hearing issues, and early incidence of chronic diseases directly impact a child’s ability to grow and learn.

I recently announced $27 million for children and maternal health programs. This funding will go towards services such as antenatal and postnatal care, breastfeeding assistance, health and development checks and also ensuring children are properly immunised.

When I was a teacher I saw children with measles. I suffered from whooping cough and ended up with lung damage and I do not want to see children compromised because of a philosophical stance that some parents may have because they are influenced by Doctor Google or misinformation from anti-vaxxers.

It’s not just about protecting your child, it is about protecting other children who use child health centres or childcare. The more people who are vaccinated the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread.

The success of the National Immunisation Program and policies such as No Jab, No Pay has not happened by accident. It is backed by science and virtually every medical and health expert in Australia.

Increasing immunisation is part of Closing the Gap and is community-driven, tailored, innovative and sensitive to individual and community needs. We want to see parents empowered by information, supported by appropriate services and accessing care in ways that suit them.

Increasing immunisation coverage is the result of community action and I want to see that continue.

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