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Learning about some subjects in Australian public health is pretty confronting. In particular the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

  • The relative risk to health if you’re indigenous compared with non-indigenous is not reducing. The gap is not closing, no matter what the government would like to say.
  • When you match by disease condition, indigenous people get 40-60% of what non-indigenous people get.
  • There are a lot of bullshit policy and “plans” around with no definable actual plans, money or measurable outcomes attached to them. Content-free policy indeed.
  • Let’s not get started on the institutional racism, intentional genocide, discrimination that are ongoing
  • Oh and then there is the bullying, discrimination and internal sabotage that happens in Australian institutions in general if you try to change something or complain about something.

Overall, this is very depressing. Just the lack of progress. Things can definitely be done. There are multiple studies that show huge benefits from simple interventions. But these things need funding, community consultation and a sensible approach. Things which are completely lacking in Australia.

People like me are slowly making a difference but seeing as we’re starting these changes in 2013, it will take at least a generation for the institutional culture to change enough to be dynamic and less bitchy. We can make incremental changes, and some of these things do snowball into big effects on the community, but for the most part we actually need a change from the top. Or a big, earth shattering disruptive event that forces things to change, the way that the invention of the printing press, the discovery of relativity and the end of apartheid in South Africa did.

I swing from feeling energetic and positive to feeling despondent and depressed and angry.

I have some plans, but I’m scared it will be hitting my head against a brick wall. I need help with all of this.