National Close the Gap Day – 10-year Anniversary
The Rural Pharmacy Forum being held today at Australian Pharmacy Professional (APP) on the Gold Coast will showcase community pharmacies throughout rural and remote Australia that are transforming to better meet the healthcare needs of their local communities.
The theme for this year’s forum is “Transformation in the bush” and it will also recognise the 10-year anniversary of the National Close the Gap campaign and how it has transformed the social and political landscape around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia.
Most Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies of any country in the world — but this is not true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can expect to live 10–17 years less than other Australians. Babies born to Aboriginal mothers die at more than twice the rate of other Australian babies, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience higher rates of preventable illness such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.
Community Pharmacy is an essential part of a healthcare team dedicated to providing valuable primary health services across Australia.
Working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is one of the critical factors to success in this area.
In recognition of the 10-year anniversary of the campaign, Donna Murray CEO at Indigenous Allied Health Australia, will present on culturally responsive leadership and the role pharmacists play in this field.
Pharmacists need to take the opportunity to show leadership for their staff and deliver culturally responsive healthcare to all of their patients.
If pharmacies are serious about contributing to closing the gap in health inequity, then they have a role to play in ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander patients feel comfortable in the pharmacy setting. Cultural responsiveness is an holistic journey that creates relationships and partnerships where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel heard, seen, valued and included.
The Chair of the Community Pharmacy Rural and Indigenous Advisory Group (CPRIA), Terry Battalis, said: “Community pharmacies are vital to the health and wellbeing of Australians. It is imperative that we explore ways to maximise the health benefits pharmacies are able to contribute to their local communities.”
The National Close the Gap Day is important for all Australians as this is a national day of action to pledge support for achieving Indigenous health equality by 2030.