A new joint committee between National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and Medicines Australia (MA) launched early July with a key focus on improving medicines access and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This year’s theme for NAIDOC Week was ‘Heal Country!’, which highlighted the need to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have been calling for action to address the grave social and economic disadvantages experienced for generations. This includes targeting health inequalities currently being experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and building better access to medicines and treatments.
The NACCHO and MA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicines Committee will have a strong representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices including health consumers, health practitioners, ATSICCHO sector representatives, as well as from industry.
The group acknowledges the ongoing disparities in access to medicines and associated services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared to other Australians.
Discussions will initially focus on exploring way of working together, such as strengthening the medicines sector’s cultural responsiveness, addressing health literacy, improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the sector, addressing medicines access and affordability, and considering remote and regional access. The group will also consider how reforms in health policy, legislation and the Health Technology Assessment processes may improve meeting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.