Child Health Report 2015
Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation has released a new report which monitors the health, development and well-being of Aboriginal children and young people in far west New South Wales.
Maari Ma CEO, Bob Davis said the report is an important indicator for Maari Ma and all service providers in the region regarding the work being done to close the gap for Aboriginal people when it comes to children.
“The report is the second in an intended on-going series and is a significant volume. It is a rich picture of the work being done across the region to improve outcomes for Aboriginal people.
“It also highlights those areas where further work is required” he said.
Since 2005, Maari Ma has been implementing its Healthy Start program, aimed at improving the health of Aboriginal children in the Maari Ma region by focusing on care to pregnant Aboriginal women, their children and families.
In 2009, Maari Ma started its Early Years Project which looked to improve aspects of early childhood development such as literacy, language, emotional well-being and social development.
“When we started the Early Years Project in 2009, we published the first report in this series, bringing together all the data related to children, and in particular Aboriginal children and their families, so we could monitor whether or not our work was having an impact.
“Five years on, we are starting to see some positive movements. There is still a long way to go but Maari Ma is in this for the long haul.
“I am pleased to see the rate of Aboriginal women smoking in pregnancy is dropping (down from 78% in the first report to 45% in this current report).
“While this is still unacceptably high, this is a significant shift in the right direction” Mr Davis said.
Other indicators which have improved significantly:
- Aboriginal children as victims of crime have dropped from 72 per 1000 in the first report to 23 per 1000 in this current report. While this rate is still 3.4 times higher than for all children in NSW, it is a significant improvement since the first report.
- Children’s dental health is improving as shown by the number of decayed, missing or filled permanent teeth decreasing and the proportion with decay decreasing to match the state’s rates.
Mr Davis said since the first report, some additional very valuable information has become available as well.
“We are indebted to our colleagues in the Department of Education and Communities for their assistance with some important indicators around a child’s readiness for ‘big school’ and we will continue to follow these indicators in future reports.
“I believe this report, and the series going forward, will be an invaluable legacy documenting the work that we are doing, in conjunction with other service providers and in partnership with our Aboriginal communities, to truly close the gap for our kids.
“Our thanks go to all the agencies which have assisted with data.
“Improving the health and well-being of Aboriginal children and young people is something we all want to see happen as soon as possible” Mr Davis said.
26th February 2015
Available for interview
A/Prof Garth Alperstein
Maari Ma Child Health Advisor
Contact Philippa Quinn
0409 929 502