Still Closing the Gap on Indigenous Health

While improvements in Indigenous life expectancy have been made, there is still a 10 year gap, a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) said.

The latest estimated life expectancy at birth for Indigenous males was 69.1 years and 73.7 years for females, 10.6 and 9.5 years lower than non-Indigenous males and females respectively.

The most significant contributing factor was chronic disease, with four groups of conditions accounting for more than two thirds of the gap, the report found.

Mortality rates dropped by 9% between 2001 and 2012. Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash said a significant journey remained to close the gap.

Indigenous Allied Health Australia chair and pharmacist Faye McMillan said pharmacists could do a number of things to help ‘close the gap’, including being aware of the way they asked questions of people who had ‘CTG’ on their script; a ‘CTG’ number was an internal pharmacy process which a client would not be aware of, so pharmacists needed to work with GPs and other healthcare disciplines to ensure the client did not feel like they had done something wrong for not knowing the number and did not feel their privacy was breached by bystanders knowing their situation.

Pharmacists could make a real difference by maintaining contact with the health system, providing positive health messages and helping a client be more informed about health, to aid adherence.

It was important to have culturally responsive pharmacies where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture was acknowledged as part of the community, she said.

Click here to read the report.

Source:, Monday 8 September 2014