National awareness day to maintain the attention on one of Australia's most disgraceful running sores - the 17-year gap in life expectancy between indigenous Australians and the nation as a whole. Australia is failing to meet the Millennium Development Goals while this gap remains.
The quite damning Close The Gap report was first released twelve months, as I commented at the time.
HARARE, 2 August 2007 (IRIN) - The lifestyle normally associated with an urban society is fast disappearing from Zimbabwe's once bustling capital, Harare.
The city's 2.8 million residents are adopting a way of life more akin to the country's rural areas, where drinking water is drawn from shallow pits and electricity is all but unavailable, although the metropolitan area's population density has produced its own quirks, such as untreated sewage spilling onto the streets.
HARARE, 17 July 2007 (IRIN) - Daughters have become a high-priced commodity in Zimbabwe, where a dowry has become a means of escaping poverty in a rapidly declining economy. "When people are mired in such hunger as we have been seeing in this country for over seven years, they will do anything to survive," Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist, told IRIN.
"Annual funding for Indigenous health has increased by over $270 million or by more than 170 per cent in real terms since 1996."
- Opening paragraph of press release on indigenous health budget initiatives, Tony Abbott, 8.5.07
Golly gee. Fair bit of good that has done, as I have already noted.
"It is inconceivable that a country as wealthy as Australia cannot solve a health crisis affecting less than 3% of its population."
- from "Close The Gap: Solutions to the Indigenous Health Crisis facing Australia", April 2007
The NACCHO/Oxfam Australia joint report on the state of indigenous health in this country makes for heartbreaking reading. Just one small extract from the executive summary makes for a depressing introduction:
An Open Letter From Madonna
My husband and I began the adoption process many months prior to our trip to Malawi. I did not wish to disclose my intentions to the world prior to the adoption happening as this is a private family matter. After learning that there were over one million orphans in Malawi, it was my wish to open up our home and help one child escape an extreme life of hardship, poverty and in many cases death, as well as expand out family.
Nevertheless, we have gone about the adoption procedure according to the law like anyone else who adopts a child. Reports to the contrary are totally inaccurate. The procedure includes an l8 month evaluation period after which time we hope to make this adoption permanent. This was not a decision or commitment that my family or I take lightly.