Addressing the health and wellbeing of indigenous communities

AUGUST 07, 2015 12:08 AM| no comments

There are approximately 370 million Indigenous people in the world, belonging to 5,000 different groups, in 90 countries worldwide. Global health disparities of indigenous populations are evident, particularly in non-communicable diseases such as diabetes,. Half of all indigenous adults over the age of 35 have type 2 diabetes.

Focusing particularly on Australia, there is a stark contrast in life expectancy between indigenous and non -indigenous peoples, with a difference of over 17 years. NCDs such as diabetes attributes to 80% of this gap.

Professor Alex Brown spoke with WDC TV at the World Diabetes Congress in Australia on the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in indigenous populations; focusing on screening, healthcare delivery and community engagement.

The impact of diabetes goes further than the individual. Diabetes in pregnancy can cause inter-generational implications with the youth more likely to develop type 2 diabetes at a much younger age.

This highlights the need to make healthcare more accessible to indigenous communities around the world. The International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing at Flinders University, use pathology to identify chronic, acute and infectious diseases.

The Centre’s QAAMS (Quality Assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services) program focuses specifically on diabetes point of care testing in rural and remote indigenous communities in Australia. The program has successfully enhanced the diagnosis and management of diabetes, making it more accessible and culturally sensitive to indigenous communities.

Growing on the success of QAAMS, the Centre’s new global initiative ACE (The Analytical and Excellence) has translated point of care testing for diabetes to 18 communities across 7 countries around the world. Together with their partners, they have created a global network, addressing the health needs of indigenous communities through sharing of resources and support as well as contributing to global health data.

Global data on the ‘State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ (Volume II)  released by the UN in August 2015 covered many issues relating to indigenous populations including the current health situation.

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