Indigenous communities beat diabetes

A program in Derby, WA, organised by indigenous development group Unity of First Peoples Australia has had a dramatic impact in reducing diabetes among Aboriginal communities, according to a Caritas Australia commissioned evaluation.

Congratulating the group, Caritas said in a statement that Dr John Boulton from the WA Country Health Service evaluated the program at Mowanjum community east of Derby and found evidence of success in improving the care of suffers and in improving the community's capacity to cope with the condition.

Introduce at Mowanjum in September last year, the community-based program is implemented at the direction of a working group of community elders and representatives from UFPA, WA Country Health Service and Princess Margaret Hospital.

"The first objective of the program has been achieved, which is providing a comprehensive diabetes education program for young people with diabetes," Dr Boulton said in the statement.

"We are also on track to achieve the second objective, which is for the adolescents to achieve acceptable levels of glucose control.

"The cost effectiveness of this outcome can be counted in terms of dollars saved on the hospital treatment as well as transport to Perth and particularly in the social and emotional costs which have been avoided by the parents not needing to go to Perth for such a disruptive period", he said.

Ernie Bridge, President of UFPA said "the results are very pleasing and consistent with the results achieved so far in other remote Kimberley communities where the UFPA diabetes program has been introduced".

According to Caritas' CEO, Jack de Groot, the program's success is "testament to the fact that Indigenous communities have the capabilities and are able to implement life changing programs in a manner that is sustainable and community owned."

"UFPAs model of development is a lesson to us all as Indigenous affairs come under the microscope," he says.

Caritas Australia, as part of the "close the gap" coalition is currently calling on the Australian Government to direct a further $460 million per year to address the crisis in Indigenous health.

Caritas applauds Indigenous communities doing it for themselves (Caritas, 25/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Close the Gap Campaign (Caritas Australia)

Tackle Indigenous problems, not symptoms: Caritas (CathNews, 26/6/07)
Avoid "bullyboy" approach: Darwin bishop (CathNews, 25/6/07)
Caritas backs plan to end Indigenous "health crisis" (CathNews, 13/12/06)
Bishops' social justice statement focuses on Indigenous disadvantage (CathNews, 14/9/06)
Aboriginal elder tells Catholics to challenge Indigenous injustices (CathNews, 15/9/06)

26 Jul 2007