You’ve heard all this before. But it’s worth saying again.
Aboriginal women remain twice as likely to die in childbirth as non-Aboriginal mothers.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are twice as likely to die before the age of five than other Australian children.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are almost eight times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse and neglect compared with other Australian children.
These are some of the findings from the Australian Medical Association’s annual Indigenous Health Report Card, released this morning. But before you click past more bad news, hold it. The report contains some positive developments, and it outlines an ambitious strategy to turn the situation around (read pages 10-12).
The AMA is also drawing attention to some good news stories in indigenous health: a midwifery service which uses roaming staff and telecommunications so that pregnant women from remote communities don’t have to travel so frequently to Darwin; a Central Australian educational program for at-risk children which uses learning games and conversational reading; innovative programs in Victoria and New South Wales which encourage kids to transition to school via introductory visits and a buddy system.
It’s encouraging stuff. But in the face of the data, so tragically inadequate.