International Indigenous Working Group on public health equity

The World Federation of Public Health Associations has formed its first Indigenous Working Group on its 50th Anniversary. At the 15th World Congress of Public Health Melbourne conference, 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous conference delegates of the yarning circle unanimously supported in principle the establishment of the World Federation of Public Health Associations Indigenous Working Group.

The Public Health Association of Australia, on Tuesday 4th April 2017, hosted a yarning circle to talk about establishing an Indigenous Working Group. The yarning circle was led by Adrian Te Patu, the inaugural Indigenous representative on the World Federation of Public Health Association (WFPHA) Governing Council. Once supported by the delegates, the formation of the Indigenous Working Group was accepted by acclimation by the world assembly of Public Health Associations.

IAHA Chairperson Nicole Turner who attended the conference says IAHA welcomes the establishment of the Indigenous Working Group. “Indigenous People around the world experience racism and have a shared history of colonisation and dispossession. This has had serious intergenerational impacts on the health and wellbeing of Indigenous individuals, families and communities”  

“Working together we can bring an international Indigenous approach to addressing our challenges, build on our strengths and opportunities and share our experiences in supporting community-led solutions that positively influence health outcomes,” says Ms Turner.

Under Mr. Te Patu’s leadership, the next steps are to formalise the Indigenous Working Group and develop its vision. The Indigenous Working Group will provide an opportunity to bring to the global public health and civil society arena a visible and prominent Indigenous voice that privileges an Indigenous world view and narrative. We intend to create a platform for change with the aim to address the health inequities experience by Indigenous peoples worldwide. The WFPHA’s function and mandate includes its link into the global health governance mechanisms such as the World Health Organisation.

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