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Rising to the health challenge for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: what will it take?

Mark Wenitong, Romlie Mokak, Henry Councillor, Dea Delaney Thiele and Tom Calma
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (10): 491-492.

A united stand from medical professionals and organisations will send a powerful message

May 2007 is the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, when an overwhelming majority of the Australian population voted to end discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.1 While some gains have been made since 1967,2 inequalities in health status between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians remain.

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  • Mark Wenitong1
  • Romlie Mokak1
  • Henry Councillor2
  • Dea Delaney Thiele2
  • Tom Calma3

  • 1 Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association, Canberra, ACT.
  • 2 National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Canberra, ACT.
  • 3 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: Romlie@aida.org.au

  • 1. Reconciliation Australia website: www.reconciliation.org.au (accessed Apr 2007).
  • 2. Condon JR, Barnes T, Cunningham J, Smith L. Improvements in Indigenous mortality in the Northern Territory over four decades. Aust N Z J Public Health 2004; 28: 445-451.
  • 3. National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Council for the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference. National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (2003–2013). Framework for action by Governments. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, 2004.
  • 4. National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. Aboriginal peoples making the health system equitable. Canberra: NACCHO, 2006.
  • 5. A national profile of Australian Government funded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Services. Service activity reporting: 2003–04 key results. Results of a joint Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) and National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) initiative. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, 2006.
  • 6. Panaretto KS, Lee HM, Mitchell MR, et al. Impact of a collaborative shared antenatal care program for urban Indigenous women: a prospective cohort study. Med J Aust 2005; 182: 514-519. <MJA full text>
  • 7. Dwyer J, Silburn K, Wilson G. National strategies for improving Indigenous health and health care. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care review: consultant report No. 1. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2004. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/publishing.nsf/Content/health-oatsih-pubs-reviewphc.htm/$FILE/1national.pdf (accessed Apr 2007).
  • 8. Calma T. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner social justice report 2005. Chapter 2. Sydney: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 2005. http://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/sjreport05/index.html (accessed Apr 2007).
  • 9. Open letter: A call for health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Australian 2006; 11 Dec: 6.
  • 10. Ring IT, Firman D. Reducing Indigenous mortality in Australia: lessons from overseas. Med J Aust 1998; 169: 528-533.
  • 11. Bramley D, Hebert P, Jackson R, Chassin M. Indigenous disparities in disease-specific mortality, a cross-country comparison: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the United States. N Z Med J 2004; 117: U1215.
  • 12. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2006. Canberra: AIHW. 2006. (AIHW Cat. No. AUS 73.) http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10321 (accessed Apr 2007).
  • 13. Howard J, Prime Minister of Australia. Better mental health services for Australia [media release]. http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Release/2006/media_Release1858.cfm (accessed Apr 2007).

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