The AMA called this week on both the current government and the opposition to commit to forming a Child Health Taskforce if successful at this year’s federal election.
Along with the Academy of Child and Adolescent Health (ACOSS), the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the AMA was seeking a commitment from the major parties to fund and implement the recommendations in the recently released National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy if elected.
AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid, said the Child Health Taskforce would be asked to initially report to the new government within six-months on priority initiatives to improve the social determinants of child health, that is, non-medical factors which influence health outcomes. These include poverty; housing; nutrition, food security and sugary drinks; and climate change.
Dr Khorshid said the pandemic had also highlighted how crowded and sub-standard housing had contributed to the spread of Covid-19. “We say access to good housing is a fundamental human right and essential for children to be able to grow up in a health and nurturing environment,” he explained.
“A commitment to equity must underpin fiscal, social and health policy. This particularly applies to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children,” Dr Khorshid added.
Full media release is available here.