The appalling statistics on Indigenous health has been highlighted by the 2015 AMA Indigenous Health Card. The AMA is also highly critical of Indigenous incarceration rates, which contribute to ill health.
Indigenous health problems are also in the news because of an outbreak of syphilis in North Queensland, attributed to the cutbacks in preventive health programs under the Newman Government.
Tony Moore reports in the Brisbane Times (13.11.15) that: ‘Sexual health expert Dr Wendell Rosevear, who runs Wilston’s Stonewall Medical Centre, said the northern Australia outbreak was linked to cutbacks in sexual health testing introduced by the previous government
‘Two years ago – in May 2013 – the previous LNP government removed 18 sexual health positions from North Queensland; including five sexual health nurses from the Torres Strait, two from Far North Queensland and 13 indigenous health workers who provided sexual health advice.
Now almost 500 new syphilis cases have emerged in north Queensland, among them – children as young as 12. Some babies have died of congenital syphilis.
‘”You can’t cut back sexual health testing and access to treatments and education, if you want to deal with epidemics, you just can’t,” Dr Rosevear said. “I think we are seeing the consequence of those cutbacks in pro-active sexual health.”‘