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          • » Reconciliation Week 2017: Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service works to close the life expectancy gap in Murray Bridge

Reconciliation Week 2017: Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service works to close the life expectancy gap in Murray Bridge

Date posted: 2 June 2017

Imagine two newborn babies lying next to each other, one Aboriginal, one white.

Their whole lifetimes lie ahead of them.

But on average, one can expect to live about 10 years longer than the other.

That is the problem the Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service hopes to solve in the Murraylands and Fleurieu areas of South Australia.

The service held an open day, with a free lunch and health checks, on Wednesday at its Standen Street, Murray Bridge premises as part of wider Reconciliation Week celebrations.

But closing the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians would take a much wider effort, said Aboriginal health Director, Damian Rigney.

He hoped Moorundi staff could scan every person in the Murraylands' Aboriginal community for the common conditions which tended to affect them more than the general population: diabetes, heart problems and chronic obstructive diseases of the lungs and airways.

'A lot of what we've got to talk about is tobacco cessation, staying active, eating the right foods,' he said.

'We hit risk factors at quite a high level in the Aboriginal community.'

'Regular testing played an important role in preventing chronic disease,' he said.

'Better to run a urine analysis and find out about kidney disease at an early stage, before a patient became tied to a dialysis machine for the rest of his or her life.'

But Mr Rigney said the service was still a long way away from connecting with every member of the Aboriginal community.

Many Aboriginal people still centred their health care on their everyday General Practitioner, he said, perhaps not realising that more holistic help was available.

'Our goal would be that every Aboriginal person in our catchment has an annual health check, and if they have a chronic disease they have a care plan to help with that disease,' he said.

Source: The Murray Valley Standard

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Last updated: 1 June 2017
 
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