Indigenous mortality rates on par with Pacific Islands

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CANBERRA: Indigenous children are significantly more likely to die during their first years of life than other Australian children, a new report has revealed.
Welfare organisation Save the Children released its report into Australian infant mortality rates yesterday.
It found that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than their non-indigenous counterparts.
The main causes of death were due to limited access to heathcare services and poor nutrition, housing and social conditions.
According to the report, the infant mortality rate for indigenous children is 12.5 per 1,000 live births, compared to the non-indigenous rate of 4.3.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies are also nine times more likely to die from respiratory conditions and four times more likely to die from injuries.
The findings come as Save the Children launched its Survive to Five campaign, which calls for a worldwide doubling of paediatric health spending by 2015.
The organisation’s chief executive, Suzanne Dvorak, said it was alarming to discover indigenous Australian children had the same survival rates as those in Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.
“This is unacceptable in Australia and in other countries around the world,” she said yesterday.
Ms Dvorak urged the federal government to do more to solve the problem.
“By recruiting and training more indigenous health workers and by working with indigenous mothers to improve childcare, we can save the lives of thousands of young indigenous Australians,” she said. – AAP