NAIDOC Week 2023

Celebrating Elders and fighting for equal health outcomes

6 min | News

NAIDOC Week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee), celebrated from 2-9 July, unites First Nations’ peoples and Australians nationwide. This year’s theme ‘For Our Elders’ recognises the significant role Elders play in communities and families, honouring the culture, history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.

At Wave, we aim to help to bring awareness to the healthcare disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. While social determinants like employment, education and income contribute to this inequality, “lower access to healthcare services for a range of reasons, which include the lack of culturally appropriate health services” remains a challenge for First Nations people. Improvements in the Australian health system are crucial to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, especially in remote communities.

First Nations women face a lower life expectancy, with a difference of nearly eight years compared to non-First Nations women. Mental health/substance abuse, injuries including suicide, cardiovascular disease and cancer are primary causes of disease burden among First Nations' women. Assault related hospitalisations in 2018, while child and perinatal death rates have remained unchanged. These statistics stress the harsh circumstances of today’s healthcare landscape for Indigenous women.

Aligned with 2023’s theme ‘For Our Elders’, Wave stands alongside Elders and the next generations of First Nation peoples in the fight for equality and improved health outcomes. "Although burden of disease and poorer perinatal outcomes are higher in First Nations women, well-informed and dedicated health services that better address the gaps in care lead to improved outcomes." This is why every day, we strive to shape the healthcare sector into one that delivers more for every doctor, patient, and community. We take great pride and honour working alongside Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS), supporting them in serving the needs of Aboriginal communities and progressing towards our shared goal.

Since 2009, Wave has made close to 750 placements with AMS clinics around Australia, with almost 100 placements in the past year alone. We have successfully connected around 250 doctors to AMS permanent and locum roles, providing over 35,000 days of care over 24 years. With more than 70 unique clinics/clients, many of whom have been partnering with us for over a decade, we have facilitated placements in every state and territory across Australia, spanning from Cape York in QLD to Hobart in TAS, from Karratha to Kakadu in WA and NT, and along the Eastern coast, including Port Douglas, Bundaberg and central Sydney.

Wave General Practice Locum recruiter Anna Mullins, who connects locum GPs to remote corners of Australia, says, “Ensuring patients have access to a doctor more regularly can address any health concern or illness without the need to travel extreme distances.” Anna is passionate about the positive impact AMS locums have on the community. “It’s rewarding to know that some of Australia’s most vulnerable people will receive care, the kind that most non-Indigenous Australians take for granted.” You can read more of these insights here.

Across the nation, you can embrace the spirit of NAIDOC Week through vibrant community events. Visit their events page to discover local celebrations.

To learn more about First Nations Women’s Health, you can explore ANZJOG’s article here.

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