On National Close the Gap Day (NCTGD), Thursday 16 March 2017, Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) is pleased to welcome the release of The Progress and Priorities Report 2017 (the report), a collaborative effort of the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee of which IAHA joins other national organisations as a member.
IAHA agrees that despite the limited progress towards meeting the Close the Gap targets, there are clear ways forward that can lead to improved Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander outcomes.
IAHA supports the priorities for action in the report focused on new engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, reinvigorating the collaborative national approach to health inequality, addressing social and cultural determinants of health, the Implementation Plan for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 and Primary Health Networks.
“We need coordinated action that is led and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations in order to close the health and wellbeing gap,” said Ms Donna Murray, IAHA Chief Executive Officer. “The Redfern Statement clearly calls for action and this report again reaffirms the need for renewed approaches to engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
IAHA strongly supports the need to eliminate systemic racism and build cultural safety within the health system and related sectors.
IAHA believes that allied health professionals are well-placed, due to the large number of professions represented and the wide range of settings in which they interact with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, can play a significant role in the elimination of racism in healthcare settings.
“Cultural safety can be achieved when delivered by a strong, culturally-capable health workforce that provides culturally responsive care and acts in partnership with individuals, families and communities,” said Ms Murray. “However, supporting the growth of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce and our community controlled organisations is critical to transforming the delivery of culturally safe and responsive health care.”
“The report mentions a number of measures around disability, eye health and nutrition and food security, “said Ms Nicole Turner, IAHA Chairperson. “Investment in allied health can contribute to improving these measures and can positively impact on quality of life, cultural and social determinants of health and the many preventable illnesses that still contribute to the gap in health and wellbeing outcomes.”
IAHA believes that adopting approaches that build on the cultural strengths and knowledges of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations can positively influence social and cultural determinants impacting on health and wellbeing. IAHA has the expertise and the ways for moving forward together and we invite governments and our key stakeholders to work in partnership with us.