“It is essential that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are respected as cultural experts, central to their own care. Yet we can’t expect to close the healthcare gap, let alone eliminate it as is our aim, by working in isolation.
Too many Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are diagnosed with illnesses much later than non-Indigenous Victorians, resulting in a significant burden on health services and other long-term costs on the system.
Together with the Heart Foundation, we can provide support and share information to help Aboriginal communities affected by, or at risk of, heart disease across the state access the services they need.”
VACCHO Acting CEO Trevor Pearce welcomed the opportunity to continue working with the Heart Foundation to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
” The people you love, take them for heart health checks.
Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and make sure to ring 000 (Triple Zero) if you think someone in your community is having one. Secondly give cigarettes the boot:
If you smoke, stop. I was only a light smoker but it still did me harm, so now I’ve given up.”
Former champion footballer Nicky Winmar always looked after his health, apart from having been a light smoker for years : Watch video
Two leading Victorian health organisations have developed a new relationship to help Close the Gap on heart disease and improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Trevor Pearce and Kellie-Ann Jolly The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the Heart Foundation in Victoria today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to improve the heart health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander communities in this state.
Heart disease is the leading killer of Australians, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are twice as likely to die from heart disease than non-Indigenous people.
In some regions of Victoria, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are hospitalised for heart conditions up to three times more often than non-Indigenous Australians. Yet they are less likely than non-Indigenous people with heart disease to have coronary angiography and other cardiac procedures; to receive or attend cardiac rehabilitation; or to be prescribed statins.
Heart Foundation CEO Victoria Kellie-Ann Jolly said, “Signing this MOU reinforces the relationship and commitment both organisations have towards achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander peoples.
“We understand how important it is to build mutual respect and trust at a local level through our previous work with Shepparton’s Rumbalara Aboriginal Health Service, and as part of the Lighthouse Hospital Project with the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service and the town’s local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO),” Ms Jolly said.
“With almost one-quarter of the mortality gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people due to cardiovascular disease, it is vital we work together to address this pressing issue.
“We see our collaboration with VACCHO as a long-term partnership towards achieving our shared vision of improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heart health care in Victoria.
“While there’s still a long way to go, increasing awareness of heart disease and working towards improved pathways to access culturally-safe healthcare services are critical if we are to see change.
“Eliminating rheumatic heart disease, which is far more common in Indigenous communities, is another priority for the Heart Foundation. It is only through working together with grass-roots organisations and the peak body, VACCHO, that we can begin to address this issue.”
VACCHO and the Heart Foundation will also work together to advocate for projects and initiatives that strive towards health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This MOU signing marks a significant step towards Closing the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
About the Heart Foundation
The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. For close to 60 years, it’s led the battle to save lives and improve the heart health of all Australians. Its sights are set on a world where people don’t suffer or die prematurely because of heart disease. To find out more about the Heart Foundation’s research program or to make a donation, visit www.heartfoundation.org.au or call 13 11 12.
The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation Inc (VACCHO) was established in 1996. VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal health and wellbeing in Victoria, with 30 Member ACCOs providing support to approximately 25,000 Aboriginal people across the state.