The Australian government has published its men's health policy document: Building on the Strengths of Australian Males.
Prime minister Kevin Rudd, right, launched the document last month at a shed in Melbourne. 'Blokes are pretty hopeless when it comes to deal with their own health,' he told Australian Associated Press. His government is making an initial investment of $16.7 million to assist in addressing male health challenges.
But why a shed? The Australian Men's Shed Association offers an updated version of the shed in the backyard that has long been a part of Australian culture - a place where men can talk. The funding package includes $3 million for the Australian Men's Sheds Association.
The publication was warmly welcomed by Australian men's health consultant Greg Millan. 'After at least fifteen years of hard work by a dedicated number of men and women working in the men's health field in Australia, we have seen the Rudd Government launch Australia’s first ever National Male Health Policy. After Ireland we are now the second country in the world to have a National Men's Health Policy.'
Kevin Rudd said: 'The National Male Health Policy has been developed through extensive consultations with health services, health professionals, and men themselves in 26 public forums attended by 1,300 people. The Policy provides a framework for improving the health of all males into the new decade, laid out in 6 priority areas. It encourages men of all ages to take action to improve their own health and recognises that this requires information, assistance and support.'
The government press release goes on to outline what the $16.7 million commitment includes:
While the life expectancy of the Australian man at 78.7 years is among the highest in the world, this is still five years shorter than the expected life of an Australian woman at 83.7 years. This is partly due to preventable conditions or where men experience premature deaths such as cardiovascular disease and lung cancer at higher rates than women. Moreover, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are particularly vulnerable, living on average 11.5 years less than non-Indigenous men.
The policy focuses on taking action in six priority areas:
The National Male Health Policy is available at www.health.gov.au/malehealthpolicy
Page created on June 1st, 2010
Page updated on June 1st, 2010