Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Any efforts to Close the Gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians must address this issue.
With this goal in sight, the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC) and Heart Foundation Queensland this week announced a five-year renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two organisations in the lead up to National Close the Gap day.
The successful partnership between these two leading health organisations will continue to help close the gap in health outcomes by providing information and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders affected by cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is also the leading cause of maternal deaths amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. There is an urgent need for greater education and increased screening to detect risk factors early amongst young women.
Mr Neil Willmett, Chief Executive Officer, QAIHC said renewing the MOU demonstrates the importance of collaboration and the necessity of sharing information to close the gap in health outcomes for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“Greater awareness of cardiovascular risk factors amongst our people is required to support our communities to live longer and healthier lives.
“The MOU is an important reminder that Closing the Gap isn’t something that can be achieved in isolation; it will take all of Australia working together,” Mr Willmett said.
Stephen Vines, Heart Foundation CEO said signing the MOU reinforces the relationship and commitment between the Heart Foundation and QAIHC to achieve health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) is a critical area we want to jointly address, as it is almost entirely preventable,” said Mr Vines.
“It has virtually been eliminated in Australia in populations with good living conditions and access to quality medical care, yet we still have over 2,000 Queenslanders on the RHD register, with the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent,” he said.
QAIHC and the Heart Foundation are committed to collaborating on advocacy and jointly seeking funding for projects to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The renewal of the MOU coincides with National Close the Gap Day —a timely reminder that there is still a long journey to go to achieve health equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.