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A new report by the University Centre for Rural Heath (UCRH) provides a snapshot of health and disease issues in a northern New South Wales (NSW) Aboriginal community. The chief author of the report, Associate Professor Michael Douglas says mental well being is key to 'closing the gap' between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians.
Patsy Nagus, a Northern Rivers Elder, has spent years campaigning for dialysis chairs in small rural hospitals. Patsy believes that cross cultural awareness is the first step in improving health rates. 'You cannot send a non-Aboriginal person out to visit an elderly Aboriginal person and expect the message to get through'.
Working with Aboriginal health leaders UCRH is compiling a report on health and disease among Indigenous people in northern NSW. Improvements are evident in infant mortality and pre-term births but chronic disease rates have worsened. Associate Professor Michael Douglas says 'To make meaningful change in the health and well being of people really has to go much more upstream; looking at areas of life like housing, employment, of opportunity.'
Source: ABC North Coast NSW