Caritas backs plan to end Indigenous "health crisis"

"It is a national disgrace that Indigenous Australians suffer life expectancy rates equivalent to those of least developed countries," Caritas chief Jack de Groot said in a call to the Government to aim for health equality within a generation.

"We call on the Australian Government to put an end to this blight on our nation by immediately redressing the imbalance and to wipe out Indigenous disadvantage by 2030", Mr de Groot said as Caritas Australia joined leading Australian development, health and rights organisations in calling for urgent action on health for Indigenous people.

"Improving Indigenous health in 25 years is achievable and more importantly it is a message of justice," says Mr de Groot.

"The basic ingredients are access to primary health care, better nutrition and health infrastructure - vital steps in challenging poverty. It's about education and supporting the many initiatives that are already working in Indigenous communities," he added.

An open letter to the nation's politicians has been circulated to media outlets and a full page advertisement outlining the steps required towards achieving health equality within a generation has been placed in The Australian.

The letter, which was published in The Australian on 11 December, outlines the minimum requirements for achieving health equality within a generation, including ensuring equal access to primary health care and health infrastructure for Indigenous Australians, increasing the Indigenous health workforce and nurturing Indigenous community controlled health services.

Other challenges are to improve the accessibility of mainstream health services for Indigenous peoples with an urgent focus on early childhood development, maternal health, chronic illness and diseases.

Australia needs a plan for Indigenous health crisis (Caritas Australia, Media Release, 11/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia

99-year leases threat to Indigenous communities, say Sisters (CathNews, 30/11/06)
Josephite call for nuns to unite on Indigenous action (CathNews, 25/9/06)
institute in Fremantle (CathNews, 6/2/06)
Indigenous funding good start but care needed: Bishop Saunders (CathNews, 30/6/06)
Notre Dame to build medical research Bishops challenged on Indigenous Guidelines (CathNews, 26/5/04)

13 Dec 2006