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Development of the Indigenous HeartInfoNet has been assisted by the National Heart Foundation of Australia, which has generously provided initial funding through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program to get the project underway.
Development of the Indigenous HeartInfoNet recognises the urgent need to improve approaches to cardiovascular diseases, which are serious health problems for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Cardiovascular disease, mainly coronary heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males and females, with overall death rates around three times those of non-Indigenous males and females.
The available evidence suggests that the disparity in death rates between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people is widening, mainly because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not appear to have benefited from the substantial declines in death rates from coronary heart disease and stroke that have occurred in Australia over the past thirty years.
The failure to achieve substantial reductions in the impact of coronary heart disease and stroke among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people probably reflects a combination of little change in risk factor levels, poorer access of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to treatment and rehabilitation services, and persisting poor social, economic and environmental circumstances.
All of these aspects highlight the need for better information and resources to assist people working in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cardiovascular health.
There is a large body of knowledge about how best to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage cardiovascular diseases, but it appears that this knowledge is not being applied as well as it could in relation to cardiovascular disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The development of this resource attempts to address this aspect by providing the many people involved in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cardiovascular health with ready access to good quality information and resources.
The Indigenous HeartInfoNet includes: reviews; guidelines; resources; programs, projects and lessons; policies and strategies; publications; and links. It also includes information about research activity, funding opportunities, organisations, agencies and individuals working in the field, news and events, and training programs.