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Betty Callow is tired of seeing her 'mob' and community dying from chronic illness early in life. Ms Callow's work into closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic disease is deeply personal. Betty has lost her mother, a brother and a sister to heart attacks.
Mrs Callow is a carer to her four brothers and sisters and in her work with the ACT Medicare Local (ACTML) helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait people 'navigate the system' and improve their access to healthcare. Mrs Callow has been recognised for her contribution to the community, winning the individual high achiever award at the 2014 ACT and Region Indigenous Excellence Awards.
'In the ACT, it's only a small community and yet, we're losing people all the time. It's happening everywhere. Why is it happening? What is it that we're not doing? Our people are deserving of the professional services that are out there. That's why I like working alongside our people to try the best service we can and to try and keep them alive' she said.
Mrs Callow said the poor health outcomes continuing to face the community showed there was still much work to be done to close the gap.
'Actions speak louder than words - people need to be getting to their appointments and followed through to get our health on track,' she said.
ACTML's Rashmi Sharma said chronic disease accounted for two-thirds of premature deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and programs such as ACTML's care coordination and supplementary services worked closely with clients and their GPs to integrate and coordinate care.
Source: ACT news