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International spotlight on Indigenous public health equity

Prominent Maori health advocate Adrian Te Patu led a yarning circle at the 15th World Congress of Public Health, which unanimously supported the establishment of an Indigenous Working Group within the World Federation of Public Health Associations.

Mr Te Patu is the first Indigenous representative on the WFPHA Governing Council and is well-known throughout is homeland New Zealand and internationally for his campaigning on health issues.

He will now formalise the Indigenous Working Group, following its acceptance at the World Congress, which was held in Melbourne in April.

The Indigenous Working Group will provide an opportunity to bring to the global public health and civil society arena a visible and prominent Indigenous voice that privileges an Indigenous world view and narrative.

“We intend to create a platform for change with the aim to address the health inequities experience by Indigenous peoples worldwide,” Mr Te Patu said.

The group was formed on the 50th anniversary of the WFPHA, at the 15th World Congress conference, when 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous conference delegates of the yarning circle unanimously supported in principle its establishment.

The Public Health Association of Australia hosted the yarning circle that was led by Mr Te Patu.

A yarning circle, also known as a dialogue circle, comes from the traditional Aboriginal process of discussing issues in an inclusive and collaborative manner.

All participants are invited to have their say in a non-judgemental environment.

The WFPHA’s function and mandate includes its link into the global health governance mechanisms such as the World Health Organisation.

Chris Johnson