Australia can learn from NGOs about improving Indigenous health


AMA Federal Councillor and AMA NT President, Dr Paul Bauert, said today that the Australian Government could learn a lot from the experiences of non-government organisations (NGOs) internationally about how best to make real improvements in Indigenous health.

Dr Bauert is this week attending the United Nations Advance Global Health Conference in Melbourne.

Dr Bauert said that, despite best intentions, governments and bureaucracies are not necessarily the best agents of change when it comes to improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians.

“The AMA believes that health-related community capacity building is crucial in achieving sustained improvements in Indigenous people’s health and wellbeing,” Dr Bauert said.

“Experience shows that NGOs, which are active here and overseas at the local level in Indigenous communities on a daily basis, are far better at the first step of working with Indigenous communities to build their capacity to make lasting improvements to their health and living conditions.

“NGOs are well placed to make improvements around the social determinants of health, including housing, education, training, sanitation, and health literacy.

“We urge the Australian Government to seek advice from and support NGOs such as Save the Children, the Fred Hollows Foundation, World Vision, and Oxfam, which are doing great work in Indigenous communities in Australia.”

The AMA wants the next Australian Government to provide new funding of $100 million over ten years in grants to community groups or NGOs for health-related capacity building in Indigenous communities, because capacity building requires generational change and must be supported for sufficient time to make a real difference.


31 August 2010


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