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'Race card' important factor in Maori Health

‘Race card’ important factor when it comes to Maori Health
Media release from Public Health Association
5 July 2006

Professor Mason Durie told delegates at the Public Health Association’s National Conference today, that race must be taken into consideration when funding health.

“We have tended to consider factors like economics, but there is ample evidence that race is an indicator of health outcomes,” Professor Durie said.

“National averages tend to mask what’s going on in specific populations.”

This theme will be reiterated by Dr Jane Freemantle from the University of Western Australia this afternoon.

“When you look at general population statistics in Western Australia, rates of SIDS and birth defects seem to be trending down. However when you separate out Aboriginal data, we get a very different picture.”

“We must consider these groups independently, both in funding and policy if we are to see any decline in sickness and death rates.”

PHA Director Dr Gay Keating said the themes emerging from the conference showed that Maori health must be given priority.

“This debate has led to political squabbling in the past, with accusations that more funding for Maori is political correctness gone mad.

“The information presented at this conference shows that unless we provide more funding for Maori, they will continue to become ill and die at greater rates than other New Zealanders.”

“It’s not political correctness, it’s life or death.”


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