In reply: We agree with Mayers and colleagues that the vexing issue of Indigenous health is a political one.
We undertook this study because we thought it very strange that the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori was known in most populations on the globe, but not in Australian Indigenous people. Results from each participant in the study were forwarded to the clinicians at the test sites. These results were discussed with the participants and those who needed, or asked for, treatment received antibiotic therapy.
In a previous editorial in the Journal, Mayers and Couzos state that “preventive health assessments are obviously needed earlier, given the occurrence of preventable chronic disease at younger ages and higher rates than in other Australians”.1 We agree with this, and it is to be hoped that our data will encourage further assessment and awareness of H. pylori infection in people of all ages in the Australian Indigenous community.
- 1. Mayers NR, Couzos S. Towards health equity through an adult health check for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: an important Australian initiative that sets an international precedent. [editorial] Med J Aust 2004; 181: 531-532.
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