9 Sep 2014

Too few Aboriginal health workers

7:07 am on 9 September 2014

An Australian Aboriginal health advocate says indigenous health professionals are still under-represented and there is still a long way to go before they are on parity with the general population.

Dr Tom Calma

Dr Tom Calma Photo: University of Canberra

Dr Tom Calma, who belongs to the Kurrangkan and Aweidja people from the Northern Territory gave a presentation to the Australian National Press Club last month calling on the federal government to address health disparities in aboriginal communities.

He said although there were more tangata whenua training to be doctors the numbers are still lagging behind the general population.

Dr Calma said there had been an increase in the number of aboriginal studying medicine but it is still far shorter than what is needed.

He said there were about 180 graduated medical doctors, and 260 studying to become doctors, but he there needed to be around about 1200 to 13oo aboriginal doctors to reach parity with the Australian population.

Indigenous Australians only make up about 2 percent of the entire population of nearly 23 million.

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