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Infant death plagues Indigenous communities

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 31 January 2005

A national organisation targeting Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) says Aboriginal babies are six times more likely to die from the condition than non-Aboriginal children.

SIDS and Kids says it is having little success reducing SIDS rates for Indigenous people.

The organisation's Jan Carey says the group is working with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) on ways to better teach SIDS prevention to Indigenous families.

Ms Carey says NACCHO can reach Indigenous communities that her group can not.

"We know how to reduce SIDS deaths, but the message is not getting through to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families so we're working with NACCHO to deliver that message," she said.

"You know the message is not going to change, but it's how you get it out there that's very important."

Meanwhile, SIDS and Kids has joined the Australian Medical Association in calling for Mr Abbott to spend another $400 million on Aboriginal health in the May Budget.

Ms Carey says extra funding should be directed towards preventative health measures.

"You wouldn't have to spend so much money at the other end on hospitals and medical expenses and trying to keep people alive if you gave people a good start right from the beginning and made sure they had a healthy life," she said.

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