NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.
NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July, the 2017 theme is “Our languages matter” which aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.
Asthma WA is once again participating in the celebrations and activities taking place across the nation during NAIDOC Week, attending a range of dedicated events to provide fliers, giveaways and brochures about asthma management and health as well as having asthma education staff on hand to provide information and demonstrations of asthma equipment and medication.
Ian Craig, COO of Asthma WA said that ‘NAIDOC week events allows Asthma WA to connect with indigenous communities and to provide education and advice to those who need it. Our educators have participated in these events for a number of years, and we really see the benefits in the communities we are able to reach’.
Asthma prevalence is markedly higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous Australians, based on the findings of various surveys.
In 2012–13, 18% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians had asthma (an estimated 111,900 people), with a higher rate among females (20%) compared with males (15%). This is almost twice as high among Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians (a rate ratio of 1.9) after adjusting for difference in age structure . The difference in asthma prevalence between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians exists across all age groups, but is more marked for older adults (Figure 2).
Asthma mortality rates are also higher among Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians after adjusting for differences in age structure. During the period from 2010 to 2014, the mortality rate for asthma among Indigenous Australians was 2.4 per 100,000 population, which was 1.6 times that of non-Indigenous Australians (1.5 per 100,000), based on the five jurisdictions with adequate Indigenous identification (NSW, Qld, NT, WA and SA).