Wide Bay Medicare Local’s Kylie McCartney with former Origin star Wendell Sailor at a recent Close the Gap day held in Hervey Bay.
Wide Bay Medicare Local’s Kylie McCartney with former Origin star Wendell Sailor at a recent Close the Gap day held in Hervey Bay.

Wide Bay Medicare Local gives indigenous health plan a tick

A NEW health plan aimed at increasing the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been given the thumps up by Wide Bay Medicare Local.

The group, which services Hervey Bay, Maryborough and Bundaberg, regularly runs events that link the indigenous community with health services.

Regional tobacco co-ordinator Kylie McCartney said any long- term plan aimed at increasing the life expectancy of indigenous people deserved approval.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan is aimed at providing a framework to guide policies and programs aimed at improving indigenous health, continuing the existing Close the Gap initiative.

The plan, a Federal Government scheme, will be carried out over the next 10 years and the projected funding is expected to reach $12 billion.

"Anything that addresses and highlights the issues is a good thing - a long-term commitment is a good commitment," Ms McCartney said.

She said while the difference in life expectancy between non-indigenous Australians and indigenous Australians had improved somewhat in the past few years, there was still a long way to go.

Currently the life expectancy for indigenous Australians born between 1996 and 2001 is 59.4 years for males and 64.8 years for females - 16 to 17 years less than then overall Australian population.

Ms McCartney said the issues of smoking, chronic disease; physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices were constantly being raised by health workers within the indigenous community.

Recently, Wide Bay Medicare Local ran a successful 10-week Aging Gracefully Program, promoting physical activity among elders.



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