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The Northern Territory (NT) will set ambitious targets to increase the number of Aboriginal Health Workers by as much as 10% annually.
In the NT the number of registered Aboriginal Health Workers fell by about 30% between 2000 and 2010. The number employed in government clinics declined by 27% over about the same period, while population overall grew by about 20%.
The trends have caused some to warn of a 'lost decade' in which the Aboriginal primary healthcare system has plunged into crisis.
NT Health Minister Robyn Lambley said the time for reflection and blame shifting was over.
'I can see this profession actually disappearing if we don’t do anything,' she said. 'We keep coming up with these reports essentially saying the same thing, but until we get on the ground and start doing something, working with these communities, I don’t think anything will change.'
Ms Lambley will detail the targets at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Summit in Cairns next week. The government plans to concentrate on five communities initially: Wadeye, about 400km southwest of Darwin, and Papunya, about 250km west of Alice Springs, so far have been nominated.
Source: The Australian