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|Institution||Australian Medical Association|
This is the fourth report card by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Focusing on data collated by the AMA on low birth weight and premature babies, the report provides a snap shot of the extent of these issues in the Indigenous population. Low birth weight babies (less than 2.5 kg) are more likely to die in the first year of life and are more susceptible to chronic illness later in life. Indigenous babies are more than twice as likely to be born premature or underweight as non-Indigenous babies and the AMA calculates that this puts 1,140 Indigenous children a year at a physical and developmental disadvantage.
The title Lifting the weight was aimed at creating awareness of the problem, lifting the weight of Indigenous babies to a healthier level and lifting the weight of this health burden from Indigenous mothers, families and communities. Five successful programs are outlined in the Good news insert including the Mums and Babies Program at the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service in Queensland. The AMA concludes that dealing with the problems of low birth weight and premature babies requires proper funding, resources, education and political will.
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract