Group aims to boost indigenous health

A group launched in Switzerland last month is now ready to start forging a new path for improved indigenous health everywhere says the group’s Co-Chair Adrian Te Patu. Mr Te Patu made the comment after the launch of the Indigenous Working Group (IWG) of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) at the University of Geneva. Mr Te Patu a WFPHA Governing Council member pointed out that public health experts and Indigenous health leaders around the world had been calling on their governments for recognition of Indigenous health as a top priority. He thanked the particularly strong efforts by Australia and New Zealand over the past year. Carmen Parter, Co-Chair and Vice President at the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) said this was a significant event for the 370 million Indigenous people worldwide. “A key feature of the Indigenous Working Group is that it will be underpinned by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “The Declaration strongly emphasises the need for Indigenous People’s self-determination and that’s why the Working Group will be led by indigenous people. We are the people who need to be driving change in health policy, because it is us, our families, and our communities who are suffering from this health inequity,” Ms Parter said. Once in operation, the IWG will bring together indigenous peoples from around the world to exchange knowledge, engage in collective advocacy, form active partnerships, source funding and resources, and seek out research opportunities to develop the evidence base that informs global and national Indigenous public health policies. This aligns with and will continue to support the WFPHA’s Global Charter for the Public’s Health and its Strategic Plan. In addition, it continues to contribute towards the goals and priority areas of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Meanwhile, the group’s launch joins another exciting initiative and a world-first for Māori and other indigenous cultures at the 23rd IUHPE World Health Promotion conference in Rotorua from April 7 to 11, 2019 which will feature Maori as one of its four official languages. One of the underlying themes of the conference, co-hosted by HPF, is Indigenous knowledge on health promotion and sustainable development. Click here for more info on the conference.   Banner picture: SUPPORTIVE: Indigenous working group and associates support Rheumatic Heart Disease Action side event at World Health Assembly Geneva 2018. From left, Summer May Finlay (PHAA), Adrian Te Patu (PHANZ), Emma Rawson (PHANZ), the Minister for Health Dr David Clark and Dr Mariam Parwaiz (NZ).   READY-TO-ROLL: Co-Chairs Carmen Parter (PHAA) and Adrian Te Patu, front, and co-vice chairs Emma Rawson and Summer May Finlay on their way to the general assembly of the WFPHA.