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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Government blinded

Like so many issues concerning indigenous health, Government attempts over many years to prevent trachoma in remote Aboriginal communities have failed miserably. This cannot be helped at all by Australia's Minister for Aboriginal Affairs tippie-toeing around the facts.
"Mr Snowdon says something happens between childhood and adulthood to heighten the risk of blindness.

"There clearly is a crossover point where eye health starts to deteriorate and it deteriorates for a range of reasons, mostly environmental and preventable to do with diet etcetera," he said.
The something that happens is that some people within these communities have failed to take responsibility for ensuring kids' faces are cleaned. If the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs cannot bring himself to talk about it honestly, what hope are we of not repeating the many failed attempts to eliminate trachoma?

At what point will the government realise that if it's not working, you need to try something different?

It's a complex problem, but the presence of eye disease should be one of the key indicators that some remote communities need to be closed down.


Anonymous said...

They're never going to realise. There was no Aboriginal disadvantage before Captain Cook. He must have caused it.

blogstrop said...

As I have commented elsewhere, before, and often, the fantasy that communities can exist this way must stop. I am so angered by journalists bleating that various diseases are "six times higher" out there without any context - a large part of which is that the aboriginals were sold flim flam by lefty do-gooders.
We have lower disease problems because we live in modern social settings. Most of us have cast off previous "cultural" baggage, or retain it in vestigial form on public holidays. We are not told it is precious or superior.
Being white, we are told all the time that our diabetes, heart disease, lung cancer and sundry other things are caused by our lifestyle, and that we should do something about it.
If we go to Centrelink and ask for unemployment benefits we'll be told to start applying for jobs, maintain a diary to verify that, and come back in six weeks.
If our kids don't show up for school, there'll be questions asked. If we don't get a good night's sleep and go to work able to do the job, there are repercussions - unless we're in the Public Service!
If we're not managing our finances, the bank will have something to say about it. That's life.
For the aborigines, this reckoning has been put off by political flim flam, but it is not going to go away. The solution is long-term, and we have wasted at least forty years.

Boy on a bike said...

What is it about blackfellas and having a bath? Free, public swimming pools have been built in many remote townships because it is the only way of giving the kids a wash - chuck them in the pool. The swimming pools of today have taken over from the public baths of yore.

However, many of these pools and their attendant equipment have been vandalised, so they're closed a lot of the time. Hence the kids don't get a decent wash, and then along comes all the diseases and illnesses that associate with dirt and filth.

Two words.


Use often, in combination.