Close the Gap is a campaign with a big goal: to achieve health and life expectation equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Since the launch of the campaign in 2006, Australia’s peak health bodies, NGOs and human rights organisations have worked together with support from the public to ensure the Australian government is prioritising Indigenous health – by working with communities, committing to additional funding and investing in effective partnerships.
This year, around 150,000 Australians are expected to get involved in National Close the Gap Day on Thursday 19 March, with thousands of events and activities being held in schools, workplaces and the wider community to raise awareness and show support for the issue of Indigenous health.
Why prioritise Indigenous health?
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have a life expectancy of 10-17 years less than non-Indigenous Australians. According to Oxfam reports, this gap exists as a result of a number of factors, including the following:
- For many Aboriginal communities, particularly those in remote locations, health services are not accessible.
- Health services that are accessible often lack cultural sensitivity towards Indigenous people, and can therefore feel like unwelcoming places.
- This is partly because the Indigenous health workforce remains disproportionately low when compared to the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that make up the Australian population.
- As a result of a long history of discrimination and dispossession, Indigenous Australians also have some of the lowest levels of education in Australia, the highest levels of unemployment, and the poorest housing conditions, all of which also contribute to the state of Indigenous health.
To learn more about the Indigenous health gap and what can be done, read the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Close the Gap Progress and Priorities Report
Medibank is proud to support the health and wellbeing of the indigenous community through a number of initiatives, including a partnership with Indigenous education provider Yalari and Indigenous funding grants provided annually through the Medibank Community Fund.