More Indigenous Men's Health Workers Needed Say Experts

More Indigenous Health Workers, including those specialising in men’s health, are needed to meet the health needs of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander population.

Research by the Australian National University (ANU) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) found that while there has been an increase in the number of Indigenous Health Workers since 2006, it is not in line with population group.

There has also been a decline in the proportion of Indigenous Health Workers aged 15-44 and a significant fall in the overall proportion of Indigenous Health Workers located in the Northern Territory.

Karl Briscoe, CEO of the NATSIHWA said that it was vital to respect cultural sensitivities around men’s health.

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According to Briscoe, Indigenous Health Workers are critical to delivering culturally appropriate care as they can reduce communication gaps, improve follow-up practices, help with medical advice and provide cultural education.

"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers are the conduit between the community and the health services," he said.

"There is nothing else like being an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker.

"It is the world's first ethnic-based health profession that has national training curriculum as well as national regulation sitting behind it.

"We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers are extremely important for improving the health outcomes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

"We need research to identify the ratio to increase to ensure cultural safety and to respect cultural sensitivities around men's health.”

The study, based on Census data, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Census in 2006, 2011 and 2016.

The findings will be published in Australian New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

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