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Rural doctors seek Indigenous health commitments

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 2 October 2004

The Rural Doctors Association of Australia has called for both the Federal Government and the Opposition to make a tangible commitment to improving Indigenous health.

President of the association, Dr Sue Page, says the average life expectancy of an Aboriginal person is on par with those living in third world countries.

"An Aboriginal person born today has the life expectancy roughly slightly ahead of somebody born in Ethiopia and about two-thirds of the life expectancy of somebody born in Bangledesh," she said.

"That's appalling."

Dr Page has called on the major parties to spend an extra $400 million a year on Indigenous health.

She wants the parties to develop prevention programs for illnesses such as kidney failure and heart disease.

Dr Page says preventing the diseases would cost a great deal less than trying to treat them once they have developed.

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