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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Aboriginal health 'scandalous'

A new report by the main doctors' group in Australia says the country has failed to improve the health of its 400,000 Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

The Australian Medical Association says the Aboriginal people are in poor health compared with the indigenous peoples of Canada, the United States and New Zealand.

The report says the average age of death for Aborigines is 53, 25 years less than the life expectancy of other Australians.

The gap in life expectancy in Canada, New Zealand and the US has dropped to between five and seven years.

The report also says indigenous babies die at two-and-a-half times the rate of other babies.

The head of the AMA, Kerryn Phelps, says the findings are a national scandal.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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