The challenge of understanding the differences in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations is being addressed by four nations at a three day conference in Canberra starting today.
The meeting, hosted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in partnership with the National Advisory Group Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Information and Data (NAGATSIHID), will focus on improving data and look for shared projects, such as a common set of indicators, to highlight progress.
Representatives from New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Australia have come together as the International Group for Indigenous Health Measurement to exchange experiences and work towards improving Indigenous health in these colonised countries.
Members of the group will also discuss ways to formalise working relationships and maintain the momentum towards improving Indigenous health data.
Speakers include the Associate Minister for Health in New Zealand, the Hon Mita Ririnui, Chief Tom Bressette, Chairman of the First Nations Statistical Institute Advisory Panel, Canada, Leo Nolan, from the Office of the Director of the Indian Health Service in the United States and Dea Delaney-Thiele, Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in Australia (NACCHO).
'The Hon Mita Ririnui said, 'We know that the health status of the Indigenous people in our four countries is significantly poorer than the non Indigenous populations, and this meeting is a chance for us to build on improving health outcomes and reducing inequalities by sharing what we have learned from Indigenous researchers, officials and community based providers.'
Dea Delaney Thiele said, 'Measuring what is important to Indigenous communities and to government is a priority to ensure we are doing the rights things in the right way.'
The Hon Tony Abbott, Australian Minister for Health, addressed representatives and delegates to Canberra today. He welcomed recent data that shows real improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and stressed the Government's commitment to improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Canberra meeting is the second meeting of the International Indigenous Health Measurement Group following the first meeting in Vancouver last year.