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Indigenous health

Analysis and Comment (34)

Inuit women carrying their kids in traditional hooded parkas. Indigenous midwifery programs have expanded across Canada and are linked to excellent health outcomes. Inuit women carrying their kids in traditional hooded parkas. Indigenous midwifery programs have expanded across Canada and are linked to excellent health outcomes. Spencer/Flickr

Birthing on Country could deliver healthier babies and communities

Tony Abbott spent most of this week in North East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. In the final of our Abbott in…
More than one in ten Indigenous Australian adults report having trouble getting around – and current licensing rules don’t help. More than one in ten Indigenous Australian adults report having trouble getting around – and current licensing rules don’t help. ZRyzner/Shutterstock

Indigenous Australians need a licence to drive, but also to work

Tony Abbott spent most of this week in North East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
If you’re born underweight, like this little baby on the left, it can make a world of difference to your lifelong health. If you’re born underweight, like this little baby on the left, it can make a world of difference to your lifelong health. Menzies Health

Australia’s 7 Up: the revealing study tracking babies to adults

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North-East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
A still from the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s award-winning Be Deadly Online campaign. A still from the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s award-winning Be Deadly Online campaign. ACMAcybersmart/YouTube

Well-connected Indigenous kids keen to tap new ways to save lives

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North-East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
Vision loss causes 11% of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Vision loss causes 11% of the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Rusty Stewart/Flickr

A vision for preventing blindness in Indigenous communities

The tragedy of vision loss and blindness in Indigenous communities is striking: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults have six times more blindness than non-Indigenous adults and nearly three times…
About 42% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (TSI) people are daily smokers, compared to 16% in the non-Indigenous population. About 42% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (TSI) people are daily smokers, compared to 16% in the non-Indigenous population. Dave Hunt/AAP

Indigenous smoking program cuts risk widening the gap

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and early death among Indigenous Australians, with smoking responsible for about one in every five deaths. Among Indigenous Australians, tobacco…
HIV epidemics have grave implications for the world’s Indigenous cultures. HIV epidemics have grave implications for the world’s Indigenous cultures. Flickr: j h

Stepping up the HIV response in the world’s Indigenous communities

Indigenous people are estimated to comprise 4.5% of the total global population. They are often overrepresented in HIV data and recognise themselves as being particularly vulnerable to HIV. In Canada…
A good diet is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding the risk factors for many chronic diseases. A good diet is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding the risk factors for many chronic diseases. Rusty Stewart/Flickr

Healthy start: closing the gap on Indigenous childhood obesity

We’ve recently seen some encouraging improvements in closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage: better educational outcomes, higher child immunisation rates, more health checks, and a 35% drop in the…
Rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease are endemic in Australia’s Indigenous communities. Rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease are endemic in Australia’s Indigenous communities. Flickr: publik16

Indigenous Australia left behind in rheumatic heart disease fight

Vintage medical textbooks are filled with diagnoses unfamiliar to contemporary doctors – wandering wombs, blackwater fever, biliousness and other historic curios. Acute rheumatic fever has become one of…
For a while, it was possible that Tony Abbott would be a transformative leader on Indigenous policy, but he has thus far not lived up to that promise. For a while, it was possible that Tony Abbott would be a transformative leader on Indigenous policy, but he has thus far not lived up to that promise. AAP/Alan Porritt

Abbott is quietly failing on his ‘PM for Aboriginal affairs’ promise

Despite prime minister Tony Abbott’s apparent passion for Indigenous affairs, last week’s federal budget – his government’s first – shows he has followed a well-trodden political path. This path leads…
The media should focus more on positive models of change and commitment in Aboriginal communities. The media should focus more on positive models of change and commitment in Aboriginal communities. Rusty Stewart

Bad news: negative Indigenous health coverage reinforces stigma

Think of Aboriginal health and you’ll probably recall messages of large gaps in life expectancy, increasing rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and asthma. Or that the last ten years…
Rather than reinventing the wheel, we need to examine what programs are valued by Indigenous Australians. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we need to examine what programs are valued by Indigenous Australians. aia web team

Indigenous health programs require more than just good ideas

Despite efforts to close the gap, Indigenous Australians continue to suffer two-and-a-half times the burden of disease than the total Australian population, with most of the health gap caused by preventable…
People living in the remote communities face system failures in health care, disability services, housing and infrastructure. People living in the remote communities face system failures in health care, disability services, housing and infrastructure. Flickr/publik

Why Indigenous Australians need a properly funded NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) presents an overwhelming opportunity to revolutionise the care and support given to Indigenous people. But the equity of the scheme is already at risk, with…
Australian Aboriginals are at most risk of bad physical and mental health and they have the worst health services in the country. Australian Aboriginals are at most risk of bad physical and mental health and they have the worst health services in the country. publik16/Flickr

Improving Aboriginal health and well-being: a view from the north

Aboriginal people living in remote communities have much worse health status and longevity than other Australians. And this imbalance will not be remedied until governments work with Aboriginal leaders…
Koori women are the fastest-growing group in the Victorian prison population. Koori women are the fastest-growing group in the Victorian prison population. Image from shutterstock.com

Unfinished business: reducing Indigenous incarceration

Every two years, the Productivity Commission releases a report on the level of Indigenous disadvantage in Australia. These reports make for fairly bleak reading: most indicators show no change, and in…
Older Aboriginal Australians are more than 15 times more likely to die of kidney disease than non-Aboriginal Australians. Older Aboriginal Australians are more than 15 times more likely to die of kidney disease than non-Aboriginal Australians. Helen Taylor

Kidney disease in Aboriginal Australians perpetuates poverty

The recent death of the lead singer of Yothu Yindi, is a high-profile example of an event all too common in Aboriginal Australia. Older Aboriginal Australians (40 to 60 years old) are more than 15 times…
We don’t know if anti-smoking campaigns have worked, or if they’re causing more harm than good. We don’t know if anti-smoking campaigns have worked, or if they’re causing more harm than good. Rusty Stewart

Anti-smoking campaigns failing Indigenous youth

How can anti-smoking campaigns be targeted more effectively at Australia’s Indigenous youth? It’s a good question, and one that, as yet, has proven difficult to answer. Almost half of all Aboriginal and…
Many people die while waiting for dialysis, or after finding the daily visits to a dialysis unit impossible to manage. Many people die while waiting for dialysis, or after finding the daily visits to a dialysis unit impossible to manage. Michael Coghlan

Diabetes among Indigenous Australians at crisis point

Diabetes rates in Australia are high but its prevalence in the Indigenous population is between three and four times higher than the rest of the population. And we are fast running out of time to stop…
A sign outside an Aboriginal community near Darwin, noting the ban on consuming alcohol in the area. A sign outside an Aboriginal community near Darwin, noting the ban on consuming alcohol in the area. AAP/Xavier La Canna

New singers, old songs: alcohol bans in Aboriginal communities

The newly elected conservative governments in Queensland and the Northern Territory have opened the way to relaxing laws restricting access to alcohol in Aboriginal communities. In Queensland, a number…
Relying on FIFO health-care workers is expensive and can end up disempowering local providers. Relying on FIFO health-care workers is expensive and can end up disempowering local providers. AIA web team

Fly-in, fly-out heath care fails remote Aboriginal communities

This is a story about two small Aboriginal communities in the Gulf region of North Queensland: Mornington Island and Doomadgee. They share two key characteristics with many other remote communities: very…
Indigenous Australians are one of the minority groups with high rates of lupus. Indigenous Australians are one of the minority groups with high rates of lupus. Len Matthews

Addressing lupus in Indigenous Australian communities

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory systemic autoimmune disorder. It affects various tissues of the body, particularly the heart, joints, lungs, skin and kidneys. An autoimmune illness is one in which body’s…
This is how to illustrate an article about petrol sniffing without breaching vulnerable people’s privacy. This is how to illustrate an article about petrol sniffing without breaching vulnerable people’s privacy. jcart

Unfair and unbalanced: misreporting the petrol sniffing ‘scourge’

Once again, petrol sniffing in Indigenous communities is in the headlines. And once again, sadly, the restraint that newspapers normally exercise in reporting drug issues among non-Indigenous Australians…
Just beyond the built community lies a health-promoting environment providing cultural, spiritual and physical nourishment. Just beyond the built community lies a health-promoting environment providing cultural, spiritual and physical nourishment. misha.penkov/Flickr

Innovative strategies needed to address Indigenous obesity

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it - Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic. Today Julie Brimblecombe…
Vulnerable people and places are worst affected by weather-related disasters, especially those most reliant on the land. Vulnerable people and places are worst affected by weather-related disasters, especially those most reliant on the land. Chaim Zvi

Disasters and mental health in rural and remote areas

Mental health problems cause profound suffering and are worthy of attention for that reason alone. But despite policy and service reform, such problems remain as common, expensive and disabling as they…
Aboriginal elders will help lay the path for health-care innovation in Indigenous communities. Aboriginal elders will help lay the path for health-care innovation in Indigenous communities. aia web team

Indigenous ageing: walking backwards into the future

The notion of walking backwards into the future describes the value we can derive from remembering and understanding our past, in order to best prepare for a better tomorrow. We can’t do this without properly…
A lack of empirical data is hindering indigenous policymaking in the Northern Territory. A lack of empirical data is hindering indigenous policymaking in the Northern Territory. AAP

What’s data got to do with it? Reassessing the NT intervention

Since its introduction in 2007, there has been much debate over the effectiveness of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) in improving the quality of life in remote indigenous communities…
Government data shows Aboriginal people are twice as likely to have a core activity limitation as non-Aboriginal people. Government data shows Aboriginal people are twice as likely to have a core activity limitation as non-Aboriginal people. AAP Image/Karen Michelmore

Changes needed to close the gap for Indigenous Australians with disabilities

Alongside high rates of incarceration, unemployment, homelessness and some of the poorest health outcomes in Australia, Indigenous people’s access and use of disability services is under-representative…
Indigenous Australians under 18 will not be included in the sample collection components of the Australia Health Survey. Indigenous Australians under 18 will not be included in the sample collection components of the Australia Health Survey. k-girl/Flickr

Failing to close the Indigenous data gap with the Australian Health Survey

The Australian Health Survey’s (AHS) exclusion of data from the Indigenous population raises questions about how serious we are about closing the health gap. It’s generally accepted that clinical care…
Measures are needed to reduce the number of fathers going into jail as well as the number not coming back. Measures are needed to reduce the number of fathers going into jail as well as the number not coming back. Casey Serin

Jailing fathers increases problems in Indigenous communities

There are hopeful signs from a number of sources that the “get tough on crime” approach is working, with politicians promising the era of more prisons and longer sentences has had its day. Movements such…
The government is ignoring protests against income management, and evidence it doesn’t work. The government is ignoring protests against income management, and evidence it doesn’t work. AAP/Larine Statham

Government ignores evidence of policy failure on Aboriginal issues

The government is ignoring evidence that income management in Aboriginal communities isn’t working. Despite a raft of studies showing it isn’t changing behaviour or significantly improving people’s life…
Australia needs to take a more considered approach to Indigenous spending. Australia needs to take a more considered approach to Indigenous spending. Rusty Stewart

Putting dollars on disadvantage: Australia’s Indigenous spending

AFTER THE INTERVENTION - Today, The Conversation launches a series looking at the recent history of Indigenous policy in Australia, and some ways forward. Are any of the current approaches working? What…
A blanket approach to improving outcomes can’t work for such a diverse and dispersed population. A blanket approach to improving outcomes can’t work for such a diverse and dispersed population. AAP

Same-old, same-old: report shows Indigenous children still being left behind

The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report – Headline Indicators for Children’s Health, Development and Wellbeing 2011 – shows Indigenous children, as well as those living in remote areas…
Achieving equity is less about grand gestures than meeting the actual needs of Indigenous Australians. Achieving equity is less about grand gestures than meeting the actual needs of Indigenous Australians. Sorry by butupa/Flickr

Playing number games with Indigenous Australians' health

The Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released its latest report on how much money the Commonwealth and State governments spend on the health of Indigenous Australians. Despite being…

Research and News (6)

Research Briefs (6)