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Statement on Closing the Gap

14 February 2020

The peak body for obstetrics and gynaecology and women’s health in Australia and New Zealand has called for a renewed effort to improve the health outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their families.
 
The call comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week unveiled the 12th Closing the Gap report, which found only two of its seven targets were being met. In 2018, the Indigenous child mortality rate was 141 per 100,000 - twice the rate for non-Indigenous children (67 per 100,000). Life expectancy is 75.6 years for Indigenous females (7.8 years less than non-Indigenous females).
 
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) President Dr Vijay Roach said: “As a nation we are failing Indigenous Australians.
 
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women must have equitable access to high-quality, culturally safe healthcare that meets their needs and achieves health outcomes on par with other Australians.
 
“We call on the Federal Government, State and territory governments and all stakeholders to renew their efforts, take a collaborative approach and work towards real solutions that will ensure better health outcomes.
 
“RANZCOG will also continue to proactively partner with groups within the Indigenous health sector, sharing the latest knowledge and best practice in obstetric and gynaecological issues.”
 
The College continues to strengthen its commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and babies. The RANZCOG 2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan includes a focus to promote and demonstrate cultural diversity and cultural safety, and the College is actively involved with initiatives through its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Health Committee. The committee continues to act as an advocate for and provides advice with regard to matters relating to the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s health.

RANZCOG’s Reconciliation Action Plan Innovate aims to translate the College’s good intentions into actions, by setting measurable and, most importantly, achievable goals, timelines and responsibilities. The development and implementation of targeted Indigenous Women’s Health initiatives aims to increase engagement of relevant stakeholder bodies by building a framework for change and ultimately to ‘Close the Gap’.
 
The College also proudly supports Indigenous health through the work of the RANZCOG Women's Health Foundation, with one of its priorities being the promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori women’s health initiatives.
 
Dr Roach emphasised that the only way forward lies in a genuine commitment to address the social, cultural and economic disparities for indigenous Australians. “Policy, protocols and plans are essential to the Closing the Gap. Perhaps more importantly, we, the Australian people and the medical community, have to find a way of translating words into meaningful action, thoughts into feelings, and to speak and act, not just from our minds, but from our hearts,” he said.

Media Enquiries
Andre Khoury
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+61 448 735 749
[email protected] 



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