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Aboriginal health organisation praised for reducing risk of chronic disease in far-west NSW

Date posted: 21 August 2017

An Aboriginal health organisation in far-west New South Wales is helping reduce the risks of chronic health conditions in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation has released its 10-year evaluation of its chronic disease strategy from 2005 to 2015.

Results have shown far-west clients with diabetes or coronary heart disease have improved their blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol control and were better than the national average.

There was also a slight decrease in hospitalisations for chronic conditions and reductions in the number of women who smoked and drank alcohol during pregnancy.

The Federal Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt, said the results were impressive.

'[Maari Ma] is closing a gap and achieving great outcomes,' Mr Wyatt said.

Former Maari Ma CEO Richard Weston said the strategy should be used as a model for other parts of Australia.

'We all know about the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people and there's a living, breathing example out here that is making a real difference,' Mr Weston said.

Mr Weston said the strategy was developed in the early 2000s. There are separate programs for families and children, and for adults who want to prevent or manage chronic diseases.

Mr Wyatt said Maari Ma targeted individuals through a variety of outreach and specific health-related services.

'They wrap services around an individual [and] they do that by doing all the health checks and health tests,' Mr Wyatt said.

'They develop a care plan and then they track people and make sure they are improving.'

The evaluation also showed there was more work needed to reduce alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity.

Source: ABC News

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Last updated: 21 August 2017
 
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