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Indigenous health

2-minute read

Indigenous health refers to the physical, cultural, social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people (Indigenous Australians).

Many Indigenous Australians experience poorer health than other Australians, often dying at much younger ages.

Indigenous Australians are more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to have respiratory diseases, mental health problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

There is also a continued high occurrence of certain diseases - and resulting conditions - that are now virtually unknown in the non-Indigenous population. Notable among these are trachoma (a bacterial infection of the eye) and rheumatic heart disease.

Alcohol, tobacco and illicit substances are widely used by Australians, although substance use plays a significant role in the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians when it comes to life expectancy and health.

Closing the Gap

Closing the Gap is a commitment by all Australian governments to improve the lives of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. It aims to close the gap of Indigenous disadvantage in areas such as health, housing, education and employment. For more information, visit www.dpmc.gov.au.

Health programs

The Australian Government has a number of initiatives designed to give better access for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people to healthcare services that are essential to improving health and life expectancy, and to reducing child mortality.

The Indigenous Australians' Health Program, which commenced on 1 July 2014, provides primary health care, child and maternal health, support for people with chronic diseases and other targeted health activities. For more information, visit the Australian Government Department of Health.

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Last reviewed: January 2018


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