Turning Good Intentions Into Coordinated Action

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16th August 2009, 12:00pm - Views: 1011

Culture Indigenous Minister For Indigenous Health 1 image


Minister for Indigenous Health, Rural and Regional Health

and Regional Services Delivery

16 August 2009



Practical solutions to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease in Indigenous Australians will

be discussed by national and international experts today and tomorrow in Sydney.

Addressing the Inaugural Indigenous Cardiovascular Health Conference, Minister for

Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, said Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are

twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease as non-Indigenous Australian.

“Overall, cardiovascular disease contributes to 17% of the disease burden in Indigenous

Australians and it should be a matter of deep concern and national action that Indigenous

Australians have one of the highest rates of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease

in the world,” Mr Snowdon said. 

Major changes and reforms are now underway to tackle chronic disease, with an historic

commitment last year by the Council of Australian Governments to a $1.6 billion National

Partnership Agreement to Close the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes. 

The Rudd Government's $805.5 million contribution to this agreement specifically aims to

target chronic disease, the single largest contributor to the current life expectancy gap. 

Mr Snowdon said the meeting of experts and specialists in Indigenous cardiovascular disease

management and research comes at a critical juncture when the Government is implementing

its chronic disease package.

“Their advice and input will be invaluable into how the Rudd Government can address

cardiac disease risk factors, improve care and follow up, and expand the workforce training

and support,” Mr Snowdon said.

“We want the health system, from research to prevention, early detection and disease

management, to work better for Indigenous Australians.

“The Government can not close the life expectancy gap alone, and we can not do it without

reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease on Indigenous Australians,” he said.

“I look forward to seeing the practical ideas from this two-day conference, which I am

confident will give us useful means to address Indigenous cardiovascular disease.” 

Media contact: Kate Sieper 02 6277 7427 and 0488 484 689.

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