- Written by Andrew Binns
The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report Mortality and life expectancy of Indigenous Australians 2008 to 2012 shows that estimated life expectancy at birth for males was 69.1 years and for females 73.7 years. These may sound like good figures – if we were living in the previous century. The sad fact is that they are 10.6 years and 9.5 years lower respectively than the life expectancy of non-Indigenous males and females.
While the report by the AIHW – which is the federal government’s main data collection agency on health trends - did show small improvements in Indigenous life expectancy, the gains had done little to close the longevity gap because non-Indigenous life expectancy improved much more markedly in the decade to 2012. In some diseases, including cancer, the gap was actually widening”: non-Indigenous Australians were found to be living longer, with Indigenous mortality rates rising.
Lismore City Council has won a national award for best practice in creating healthier communities. Presented at the 2014 Heart Foundation Local Government Awards in Coffs Harbour on 20 October, the award for Lismore’s Move2Change was in the category of ‘Councils with populations greater than 15,000’.
The winning program delivers low-cost exercise programs through the Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre and in Lismore’s villages.
- Written by Arn Sprogis
Arn Sprogis* agrees that general practice is the key to improved quality of care, but ponders what mix of public and private structures will best support it.
Ineffective policy making by successive federal governments has pushed the Australian health system into the first stages of a disruption that could be even greater than the impact of Medibank over 30 years ago.
This disruption is being driven by the need to resolve the three major health care and health financing challenges:
how to best manage chronic and complex care, and by whom?
how to best manage avoidable hospital admissions/care, and by whom?
how to finally get equity in access to care, particularly for rural and regional populations?
The many keen observers of our health system see clear signs of major change. We have an absent commonwealth government , private health insurers (PHIs) moving into general practice, corporate GP practice rapidly increasing, and an impending flood of new medical graduates.
Add to this mix another restructure of the primary care system, with Medicare Locals (MLs) soon to become Primary Health Networks (PHNs).
- Written by Dr David Addenbrooke
There are both challenges and advantages to parenting at older age, writes Dr David Addenbrooke.
Women are increasingly delaying pregnancy until later life. The reasons for this are many and solid arguments could be made regarding the increasing average time in education and training, modern gender equality in professional careers and the increasing economic pressure for double incomes, particularly in urban centres.
There are clear advantages to starting a family with a higher level of emotional maturity and financial stability. The biology of aging however does not discriminate and it is also clear that fertility and pregnancy can become more challenging with time. The biological clock is ruthless when it comes to reproduction.
- Written by Robin Osborne
Robin Osborne reviews an art exhibition highlighting the runaway rates of Indigenous kidney disease – yet not a single Aboriginal person was depicted.
Q: What do the following well known Australians have in common?
Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne, Clive Palmer, [Northern Territory Chief Minister] Adam Giles, John Howard, Gina Rinehart, Andrew Bolt, Cate Blanchett, George Pell, and Paul Kelly [the singer not the journalist].
A: None of them is on renal dialysis, nor as far as we know, facing a diagnosis of chronic, let alone end stage kidney disease (ESKD), unlike so many Indigenous Australians.
This is the point of a confronting new exhibition by well-known NT artists Chips Mackinolty and Therese Ritchie, who, like the clearly recognizable celebrities, are also shown hooked up to dialysis machines.
Get well soon! A diagnosis is expected to tour nationally after its Darwin run at photographer Dave Hancock’s Gallery Two Six. Its aim is to highlight a leading cause of illness and death amongst Aboriginal people – and not just in the NT.