Closing the Gap

5457942713_61b68eca69_o Today is Australia's National Close the Gap Day, a day designed to create awareness and spark conversation about health care that exists in our country between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Assistant Minister for Health Senator, Fiona Nash, says the government is responding to the call with around $800 million in grant funding to organisations for Indigenous specific primary health and allied health care, the majority of which are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs).

“ACCHOs deliver culturally appropriate and sustainable primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Many communities have different cultures and histories so different needs may need to be addressed by locally developed, specific strategies,” she said.

Further to this, a $1.3 billion dollar investment in 2013-14 has been pledged for health projects including child and maternal health and the management of chronic diseases with specific focus on reducing the factors that create risk for disease including smoking and diet.

Goldfields-Midwest Medicare Local (GMML) aims to work together with Aboriginal Community- Controlled Health Services, general practices and other primary health care agencies to bring about a much-needed focus on Aboriginal health.

These partnerships will go from strength to strength through Australia’s primary health care sector, as the community-based approach to frontline health services gains traction and shifts the balance of health services away from hospitals to keep people well and out of hospital.

GMML’s CEO, Brenda Ryan, explains, “GMML is making inroads with projects such as Reach For Your Goals and Aboriginal Care Coordinator services to improve community understanding and awareness of chronic disease and the lifestyle factors that contribute to it. Ultimately this will improve self- management and life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

GMML has been invited by WA Country Health Service Midwest to join their National Close the Gap Day celebration which is being held on Friday 21 March 2014 at the Rodanthe Room, Geraldton Hospital from 10:00am – 2:00pm.