Australian NFP Funds Global Research on Indigenous Peoples Health
21 April 2016 at 10:01 am
An Australian Indigenous Not for Profit has funded a world first study into the health and wellbeing of more than 154 million Indigenous and tribal people globally.
The report revealed the extent of work that needs to be done if the United Nations is to meet its 2030 goals of ending poverty and inequality.
The report, commissioned by medical journal The Lancet with funding from Australia’s Lowitja Institute, has been described as the most comprehensive Indigenous study ever compiled by world health experts.
Bringing together data from 28 Indigenous and tribal groups across 23 countries including Australia, it accounts for more than half of the world’s native populations.
Lead author Professor Ian Anderson, chair of Indigenous education and Pro Vice Chancellor of Engagement at the University of Melbourne, said the key to the success of the report was in the international collaboration of 65 world-leading experts in Indigenous health.
“What was absolutely critical and unique to this project was being able to work with authors and contributors across the 23 countries,” Professor Anderson said.
Romlie Mokak, chief executive of the Lowitja Institute, said the research represented an important milestone for the institute, which was named in honour of its patron, Aboriginal leader Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue.
“The study highlights the importance of global networks that bring together Indigenous health experts, academics and policymakers to effect positive outcomes for First Peoples,” Mokak said.
“The paper responds to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development signed in September 2015 with the stated aim ‘to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate changes’, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
“The Lancet-Lowitja Institute Global Collaboration aimed to establish a clear picture of Indigenous and tribal health across 23 countries, as well as identify gaps in knowledge and data.”
The participating countries included Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, China, India, Thailand, Pakistan, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Myanmar, Kenya, Peru, Panama, Venezuela, Cameroon and Nigeria.
Researchers assessed data on basic population, life expectancy at birth, infant mortality, low and high birthweight, maternal mortality, nutritional status, educational attainment, poverty and economic status.
High-income countries had an Indigenous life expectancy at birth greater than 70 years with the exception of Canada. The study found large differences in high-income countries, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia where the life expectancy gap was 10 years less than the general population.
The study, Indigenous and tribal peoples’ health (The Lancet-Lowitja Institute Global Collaboration): A Population Study, has been launched simultaneously in Melbourne and London.