Close the Gap Day a reminder of how far we must go for health equity

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) has urged health leaders and organisations around the country to pledge their commitment to work with community leaders to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, on Close the Gap Day 2016.

“Close the Gap Day is a reminder for the entire healthcare sector about how far we still have to go to remove health inequalities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and other Australians,” AHHA Acting Chief Executive Dr Linc Thurecht said.

“To close the gap by the original target date of 2030 is ambitious but remains achievable. There have been improvements in some areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health since the campaign was launched in 2006, but these gains must be built on every year. Meeting many of the Close the Gap targets remains a significant challenge.”

The AHHA urges health leaders and governments to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to ensure all initiatives to improve health equality are best practice, well targeted and culturally appropriate.

“It is essential to remind the Commonwealth, state and territory governments that closing the gap must remain a national priority,” Dr Thurecht said.

“The AHHA is proud to support organisations that work to close the gap. We recently signed an agreement with Australia’s national peak body representing over 150 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). This has brought together the experiences of health service providers that work in the public and not-for-profit health sector across Australia and local Aboriginal controlled health organisations working in local communities. Through this agreement we can be a more effective united voice in speaking together to improve the design and delivery of health services for Aboriginal peoples.”

Improving chronic disease and primary care outcomes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people needs to be among the top priorities for the immediate future, Close the Gap co-chair Mick Gooda told AHHA in the February edition of its bi-monthly magazine The Health Advocate, which was themed around Close the Gap initiatives.

“The key to improving chronic disease outcomes is to increase rates of early detection and treatment. This involves not only increasing awareness and health literacy among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but also ensuring they have access to quality health services,” Dr Thurecht said.

“Let’s support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in improving on the health gains made in the past 10 years to ensure any Australian, no matter their background, can enjoy the same expectations of a long and healthy life.”

Media enquiries:
Adam Vidler
Communications Officer, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association
0487 783 775