position statement on the health of aboriginal and torres strait islander peoples ===========================================================

Position Statement on the Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Peoples
================================================================
Re-endorsed by Annual Conference 2014
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association supports the commitment to
closing the gap that exists between the health outcomes of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. The problems
that have evolved through generations of accumulated loss and
dispossession cannot be resolved without the cooperation of
governments and non-government organisations, as well as the
Australian community as a whole.
Nurses and midwives have a vital role to play in improving the quality
and accessibility of health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples.
The NSWNMA is committed to working to address the inequalities
experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and
to help achieve self determination and health equality for Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association recognises that:
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
areas of concern for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
resident in NSW include1:
*
high rates of smoking during pregnancy (51%)
*
lower rates of access to antenatal care in the first trimester of
pregnancy
*
more than half of those aged 18 and over in non-remote areas have
a disability or long- term health condition
*
mortality rates for chronic diseases are much higher for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (almost four times
the rate of non-Indigenous Australians for diabetes and almost
twice the rate for circulatory diseases)
*
a 286% increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
commencing end stage renal disease therapy since 1991 (currently
three times the rate for non-Indigenous Australians)
*
high rates of hospitalisations and deaths due to injury
(particularly assault, suicide and transport accidents)
*
barriers to accessing appropriate health care, such as cultural
competency, continue to remain a problem
*
lower access to procedures in hospitals
*
a large unmet need for dental care for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander children
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association adopts the position that:
*
Self-determination must be a key characteristic of measures aimed
at improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples and therefore we support Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander community control in health as a key means of reducing
health inequalities.
*
The NSWNMA has an important responsibility to raise nurses’ and
midwives’ awareness of the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people and their cultural context and to advocate for
health services and systems that improve the health outcomes of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
*
Through the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF)
Reconciliation Action Plan, the NSWNMA is committed to:
*
Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to
develop a greater understanding of Indigenous culture within the
NSWNMA and its members.
*
Developing and maintaining partnerships with key stakeholders,
such as the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM); Australian Indigenous Doctors
Association (AIDA); Oxfam; National Aboriginal Community
Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO); and Australians for
Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) in lobbying for Indigenous
health equality.
*
Participating in and supporting the work of the ANMF Indigenous
Advisory Committee to provide advice on Indigenous issues.
*
Supporting efforts, in consultation with CATSINaM to attract
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives to
become involved in the NSWNMA and other union activities.
*
Promoting successful examples of Indigenous self determination and
healthy communities.
*
Aboriginal Health Workers are a vital component of
multidisciplinary teams delivering health care to Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples.
*
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples undertaking nursing
and midwifery training must be encouraged and supported.
AIHW 2013. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance
Framework 2012 report: New South Wales. Cat. no. IHW 88. Canberra:
AIHW.
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