Media releases

January 30, 2002

Medibank Private joins fight against asthma and heart disease

Australia's largest health fund, Medibank Private has joined the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the National Asthma Council Australia in the fight against heart and asthma problems in Australia.

Health information on heart and asthma via the Internet will be the first step in the three-year alliances Medibank Private has signed with each of the two peak health bodies.

Longer-term, Medibank Private will work with the two bodies to develop new initiatives tailored to help prevent and manage asthma and heart conditions and encourage general health and wellbeing.

Medibank Private managing director, Mark Burrowes says the new alliances broaden the health fund's role to recognise a growing consumer demand for improving wellness.

"We now provide health insurance for over three million Australians and while this will remain the core of our business, it has becoming increasingly important to emphasise the value of prevention," he said.

According to the principal executive officer of the National Heart Foundation of Australia, Dr Lyn Roberts, her organisation was delighted to be working in partnership with Medibank Private to fight heart disease and stroke.

"One Australian dies every 10 minutes of cardiovascular disease and we urgently need assistance from all sectors of the community to help solve this serious problem. Promoting healthy lifestyles is important as risk factors such as tobacco smoking, high blood cholesterol, being overweight, lack of physical activity and hypertension are still major problems for many Australians," she said.

Commenting on Medibank Private's alliance with the National Asthma Council Australia, the council's chief executive officer, Kristine Whorlow, believes it will play an important role in the attack against asthma.

"Over two million Australians have asthma and 454 Australians died from it in 2000. There is still no cure, however asthma is preventable," says Ms Whorlow.

"Community education is one of the most effective tools in raising asthma awareness and understanding. We are delighted to be a part of the alliance with Medibank Private and commend the health fund for its significant role in helping spread the asthma message."

As a first step in the long-term alliances, Medibank Private will have access to specially developed integrated and leading information from each of the National Heart Foundation of Australia and the National Asthma Council Australia which is available on the fund's website,

Mr Burrowes says that while consumer information will be the initial focus of website information, the provision of information for health professionals may follow.

The next phase of the alliances will be the formation of joint working parties which will focus on establishing other activities which will benefit the health of Medibank Private members.

Medibank Private will build its peak health body alliances to align with other key health priorities in the Australian community.

Back to top