Local Health Initiatives Best for Indigenous Communities – Study
Tuesday, 31st January 2012 at 3:18 pm
Community managed and initiated programs can result in vast improvements in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, according to new research.
Released today by Closing the Gap Clearinghouse, the report Healthy lifestyle programs for physical activity and nutrition identifies programs initiated and managed by local Indigenous communities that successfully contributed to the health and wellbeing of the community.
The report contains a number of positive factors resulting from community managed programs including the stabilisation of diabetes rates and significant falls in smoking rates, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
According to Closing the Gap Clearinghouse spokesman, Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman, Indigenous Australians suffer the worst health of any population group in Australia and have a burden of disease that is estimated to be 2.5 times that of the non-Indigenous population.
“Lifestyle related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease continue to lower the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians,” Al-Yaman said.
Also released yesterday, the Clearinghouse paper Improving Indigenous community governance through strengthening Indigenous and government organisational capacity revealed that strengthening the organisational capacity of both Indigenous and government organisations is critical to raising the health, wellbeing and prosperity of Indigenous Australian communities.
The report also said that the involvement of Indigenous people in decision-making about their own development is crucial to their wellbeing.
Al Yaman said: “Strategies that have been found to work to strengthen Indigenous organisational capacity include long term partnerships between government and Indigenous people, those that recognise local contexts and take a developmental approach, and those that have a clarity of purpose or clear notion of what type of capacity is being strengthened and for whom.”
Both reports can be accessed here.
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