Diabetes WA highlights the critical need for an Aboriginal Health Workforce on World Indigenous Day 

[by Cherelle Danker]


Image: supplied

On World Indigenous Day, Diabetes WA raises awareness of the critical need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health workforce to meet the needs of Aboriginal people and their devastating experience with diabetes.

A new report released by the New South Wales Bureau of Health Information found that the support provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Practitioners directly translated into higher levels of patient satisfaction and care.

General Manager of Growth and Innovation Sophie McGough said Diabetes WA saw the vital need to build culturally secure diabetes care and this report validates their on-going efforts to grow their Aboriginal workforce.

“We work under the leadership of Aboriginal Community Health Organisations (ACHO) to grow our workforce in diabetes education to provide culturally secure care to address the devastating outcomes of diabetes in Aboriginal communities.”

“The statistics are overwhelming, Aboriginal people are three times more likely to have type 2 diabetes compared to non-Aboriginals and are almost seven times more likely to die from diabetes related complications,” Sophie said.

Adding to the statistics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities:

  • have prevalence rates of diabetes as high as 30%

  • develop type 2 diabetes at earlier ages

  • living in remote areas are twice as likely to have diabetes than other non-Aboriginals in those areas

  • have the highest rate of kidney failure in Australia,

  • are 38 times more likely to have lower limb amputations due to diabetes.


The report shows 79% of Aboriginal women who had the support of an Aboriginal Health Worker gave “very good” ratings for their overall care (during labour and birth) and 70% of Aboriginal patients who received Aboriginal Health Worker support gave the same rating,” Sophie shared.

“Given that Aboriginal women are four times at risk of developing gestational diabetes at pregnancy (than non-Aboriginal women) and Aboriginal communities overall experience higher rates of diabetes and associated comorbidities, this report confirms an Aboriginal health workforce across the health care system is key to meeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander future health needs.”


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