Friday, September 22, 2006

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Do you intend to retire? I do, one day. Not yet, though. When I get to about 60, which is probably about the same as most people reading this. And we expect one of those nice lives full of leisure - you know, golf, travel, nice red wines, all of that.

Except if you're an Aboriginal Australian. If you're a man, you're life expectancy is 20 years less than mine. You can expect to live until you're about 56. Not much retirement there then. Imagine that being you, and your friends. No retirement, not much fun with the grandchildren.

In health there are measurements made to measure the health of a whole population which reliably reflect how healthy that population is. These are thing like life expectancy, mortality at a given age, the infant death rate. These are all higher for Aboriginal Australians - similar in fact to the developing world. Imagine the number of times you have to go to a child's funeral and multiply that by four. Imagine the number of days off to go to funerals.

Both within countries and across the world, populations with the biggest health needs have the least access. And working in Aboriginal health you can make a difference to people and communities. Why wouldn't you want to do that?

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