On National Close the Gap Day 2019, Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) welcomes the Close the Gap Campaign Steering Committee’s Our Choices, Our Voices report that highlights examples of the great work Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations are leading to address inequities in health, demonstrating success from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.
National Close the Gap Day is a time for all Australians to come together and commit to achieving health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Our Choices, Our Voices report identifies three key areas to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These are the availability of targeted, needs-based primary care; a health care system which is responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; and access to appropriate, safe housing which supports of good health.
Among the case studies highlighting these principles in practice is the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Academy Project, which was developed by IAHA and is delivered in partnership with Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) with Northern Territory students, families, communities and other key stakeholders.
The academy is a community-led learning model focused on academic achievements in re-shaping and re-designing the way training is delivered with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students. The model demonstrates the success of education and training outcomes where social, cultural and environmental determinants are addressed with wraparound supports.
IAHA strongly supports the need for ongoing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, governance, self-determination and nation building in order to improve health and social and emotional wellbeing outcomes to accelerate progress toward closing the gap. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations leading solutions is the foundation to improved policies and programs that will better meet the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“IAHA is working with members and stakeholders to drive and influence a co-design approach in building and supporting the allied health workforce and embedding culturally safe and responsive health care and social service programs across multiple sectors that provide prevention, rehabilitation, therapy, evaluation, management services to all Australians” said Ms Nicole Turner, IAHA Chairperson.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the right to health equality. Transformational Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership – as highlighted in the Our Choices, Our Voices report – can ensure that our health is in our hands, now and for future generations, in a way that is meaningful and centred on our cultural aspirations. This leadership will be essential in realising IAHA’s vision for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and future generations to be healthy, strong, thriving and self-determined.
The full Our Choices, Our Voices report can be downloaded here – CtG2019_FINAL2_WEB