Deadly Choices is an initiative of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) in South East Queensland (SEQ) and is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health & Ageing.
IUIH was established in 2009 by four (4) Aboriginal Medical Services to coordinate planning, development and delivery of comprehensive primary health care services to over 50,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s that call SEQ home – over a third of the total Indigenous population of Queensland reside in SEQ. These four (4) Community Controlled Health Services constitute the membership of the IUIH and include: the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) Brisbane; the Kambu Medical Centre in Ipswich; the Kalwun Health Service on the Gold Coast; and the Yulu-Burri-Ba Health Service on North Stradbroke Island.
‘Deadly Choices’ is a campaign which aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make healthy choices for themselves and their families – to stop smoking, to eat good food and exercise daily. ‘Deadly Choices’ also encourages our people to access their local health service and complete a ‘Health Check’ – not just to see the Doctor when they are sick but visit their health service and access support to prevent or better manage their chronic disease and remain healthy.
Focusing on the risk factors for chronic disease – smoking, physical activity and nutrition – is critical if we are going to ‘close the gap’ in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. It is smoking, poor nutrition and not enough physical activity that are the biggest contributors to chronic disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – this is why we see high levels of diabetes, heart disease, lung and kidney disease in our families. Governments have committed to ‘closing the gap’ in Indigenous health but it is only our communities that can make this happen. This is the aim of ‘Deadly Choices’, to support our communities to make a ‘Healthy Choice’ – to make a ‘Deadly Choice’.
Aboriginal health standards ‘third world’
© AAP 2011
Urgent changes are needed to improve the third world health standards among indigenous communities, the West Australian opposition says. Health Minister Kim Hames said in February that he would introduce a bill to amend the Public Health Act by the end of the year. But he told parliament on Tuesday that it was not urgent and may not be introduced until next year.
Opposition Health spokesman Roger Cook said improving Aboriginal public health should be a focus for the government. “The Health Department’s website said the current legislation, which is more than 100 years old, was ineffective at addressing Aboriginal environmental health issues and the exposure of indigenous people to disparate conditions affecting health,” he said. “Remote Aboriginal communities continue to be subject to poor community sewerage, lack of rubbish collection and problems with water supply, which contribute to poor health in these communities. “These loopholes that have allowed environmental health standards to remain at third world levels must be fixed as a matter of urgency.”
Mr Cook said there was no excuse for not introducing the bill, because it was already drafted and had been subject to extensive community consultation. The legislation would protect communities from diseases and other public health risks, encourage communities to maintain a healthy environment, provide for the prevention or early detection of diseases, and reduce health inequalities in the public health of disadvantaged communities.