A major push to improve the health of the Indigenous community has been launched this week by the Australian Government, with a focus on increasing annual health checks.
Backed by a new radio advertising campaign delivered in five Aboriginal languages: Kriol, Yolngu Matha, Warlpiri, Arrente and Burarra, the Government is encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to see their GP and have a 715 health check.
The health check, listed as item 715 on the Medicare Benefits Schedule, is tailored specifically to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all ages. It is free and available every nine to twelve months.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said the health checks are an opportunity for early intervention, prevention and chronic disease management for all age groups.
“In-person 715 health checks decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic and the new radio advertising campaign, along with the availability of the 715 health check via telehealth, will help to increase awareness and uptake,” Minister Hunt said.
“The three-month radio advertising campaign is part of our ‘Your Health is in Your Hands’ communications project, delivered in partnership with Aboriginal-owned company 33 creative, who have created print, audio and online content to promote the health checks.”
Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said the Government was committed to increasing the rates of the 715 health check by 10 per cent, as part of the Long Term National Health Plan.
“These health checks provide important information for both Indigenous people and health professionals, ensuring they can have their physical, psychological and social health comprehensively assessed,” Minister Wyatt said.
“While rates have been trending upwards in most locations and age groups, increasing from 11 per cent in 2010-11 to 29 per cent in 2017-18, we encourage all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to visit your local GP and have your health checked.”
Collectively, it is estimated that there are approximately 13,000 speakers of the five Aboriginal languages which will be aired across the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
The English language ads will be launched in the urban areas of Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart as well as nationally in remote and very remote areas of Australia.
The campaign began on 21 March 2021 and will run for three months.