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2010 IASG Meeting Focuses on Health

The indigenous peoples have long been revolving around colorful traditions, myths, beliefs, distinct languages, political systems, social upbringing, and economy. However, they too, are among the poorer and less literate. They also tend to die at a younger age and have higher suicidal tendencies. These is the sad fact that hold them back from being able to keep up with the fast pace of urbanization. To address these issues without endangering the pillars of their cultures, meetings of the UN Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous People’s Issues are being held annually. Every year has its own focus intended to gradually improve culture, economic, environment, health, human rights, and social development among the indigenous peoples.

This year, IASG meeting, which will happen on 16-17 of Sep., focuses on indigenous people’s health issues. It aims to share the best health practices and foster collaboration between UN organizations and other IASG members from internationally.

In all regions of the world where there are indigenous peoples, traditional healing systems are their primary source of care. And because they usually live in remote areas, access to health care provided by the government is almost impossible. Governments do not invest on such areas. Understandably, children do not receive basic immunization that would have them protected from severe to fatal diseases. Only when charity works by some groups of nurses and doctors willing to get their scrub tops, scrub pants, and lab coats soiled are they able to receive some of the basic medical attentions necessary. Adding to the problem is the scarce statistical data on the health status of these people.

Of the estimated 370 million indigenous peoples in more than 70 lands around the world, the aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia list 26% or 6 times higher rate of diabetes prevalence as against the general population. Rwandan Twa households suffer from poor sanitation and lack of safe, potable drinking water 7 times and 2 times higher than the national population. As for the reproductive health of Vietnam ethnic minorities, records reveal more than 60% of childbirths take place without prenatal care, two times higher than Kinh’s. In Panama, an alarming 3 times higher infant mortality rate than the overall population plagues. – CNN records on Health of Indigenous Peoples

About Mecheil Lewis