New health check for Indigenous children
The Commonwealth Government has announced a new Medicare-funded annual Indigenous health check for children from birth to 14 years of age.
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28 June 2005
The Commonwealth Government today announced a new Medicare-funded annual Indigenous health check for children from birth to 14 years of age.
This additional Medicare item will encourage doctors to carry out regular and comprehensive health checks on Indigenous children to enable early detection of disease. This important preventative health measure will help to reduce the high rates of illness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
In particular, the new health assessments will allow doctors to target risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, substance use and other health problems that can commence in childhood or early adolescence.
Annual health assessments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 55 and over have been available through Medicare since November 1999.
A new item covering health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 15 to 54 years was introduced in May 2004. In its first 12 months, this new item resulted in health assessments for 7,120 people.
Every Indigenous person will be entitled to Medicare-funded health assessments.
With the development of the child health check, a framework will be in place for health assessment and health promotion interventions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all stages of life.
Details of the child health check will be developed in consultation with child health experts, GP organisations and other groups involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
It complements the $102.4 million Healthy for Life package announced in the 2005 06 Budget, which will improve the health of Indigenous mothers and babies through targeted activities at various places across the country.
The new health check will be introduced within the next 12 months.
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.
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