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Indigenous people worldwide face myriad health challenges: UN

来源: Xinhua 作者: 2015-08-12 09:57:34

  Indigenous people around the world suffer high levels of diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse, youth suicide and infant mortality, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon here on Monday.

  Speaking at the launch of the State of the World's Indigenous People report on health, Ban said that "(Indigenous people) count among the world's most vulnerable and marginalized people," adding that this was despite the importance of their "history, traditions, languages and knowledge."

  The new report found that the world's 370 million indigenous peoples "face a myriad of obstacles when accessing public health systems."

  The report's co-author, Mukta Lama from Tribhuvan University in Nepal, described some of these obstacles at the launch, saying that they were "due to language barriers, due to geographic remoteness where they live, and also due to culturally insensitive approaches to health care systems taken by the government."

  Speakers at the event gave examples of health challenges, from different Indigenous communities around the world.

  "Among Inuit youth in Canada, suicide rates are among the highest in the world, 11-times the national average," said Ban.

  "In Australia, many Aboriginal communities have a diabetes rate six times higher than the general population," he added.

  Megan Davis, Chair of the Forum on Indigenous Issues, added that diabetes is a problem for Indigenous people around the world.

  "Worldwide over 50 percent of indigenous adults over 35 years of age have type two diabetes, and these numbers are predicted to rise," she said.

  "In Canada and the United States death rates from tuberculosis, alcoholism diabetes and suicide amongst the indigenous people are much higher than amongst the non-indigenous populations," she added.

  Jeffrey Reading from University of Victoria, Canada, who edited the report, said that food insecurity among Indigenous populations, has contributed to over-reliance on poor-quality foods and an increase in non-communicable diseases.

  "Food insecurity led to the alternatives which was store-bought foods with low nutritional content which is driving the global epidemic in obesity," said Reading.

  Many of the speakers acknowledged that Indigenous people in different parts of the world experience similar health problems, often linked to their marginalization and poverty.

  Davis and Lama both called for disaggregated data -- meaning that governments should provide separate data on the health of Indigenous peoples due to their different health outcomes.

Keywords:Indigenous,UN,myriad health

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