Aboriginal health gaps highlighted
Health authorities say the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fundamental gaps in Aboriginal health care.
Official data indicates there have been no Aboriginal coronavirus patients in the NT, but Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT chief executive officer John Paterson says there are major issues exposed by the pandemic.
“Governments need to provide the appropriate financial investment into housing, food security, environmental health issues, water, power and primary health — there is gaping holes in our workforce,” he told the ABC.
“This needs to be given priority. We can't wait for another virus to come along, we're running on a bloody oily rag.”
Northern Territory Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie said that usually, Aboriginal Territorians are “significantly represented” in disease outbreaks.
“Aboriginal people have a high risk of chronic disease and make up a high proportion of patients in the health system in the Northern Territory,” he said.
“It is not unreasonable to assume these patients are significantly represented in statistical evidence in most disease outbreaks.”
Mr Paterson says the pandemic shows the relevant authorities can work quickly and collaboratively.
“One of the other positives I see coming out of this national pandemic, is it shows how quickly things can happen,” he said.