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GSK solidifies health equity commitment in next phase of RAP journey

Health Industry Hub | March 18, 2024 |

ESG: In the ongoing pursuit of health equity for First Nations peoples, pharmaceutical giant GSK Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to addressing health challenges faced by Indigenous Australians. This echoes the sentiments of many within the pharmaceutical industry who see bridging health disparities as a paramount goal.

The latest findings from the Productivity Commission regarding the Closing the Gap targets have been unveiled, providing a comprehensive assessment of initiatives aimed at reducing disparities between First Nations people and the broader Australian population. While some improvements have been noted, the overall report paints a sobering picture, revealing that only 5 out of 19 targets are currently on track.

Of particular concern is the lack of progress in closing the gap on life expectancy, with Indigenous Australian males and females projected to live 8.8 and 8.1 years less than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Additionally, targets aimed at reducing the number of children in out-of-home care and adult imprisonment are off track, with the latter worsening.

These revelations come on the heels of a scathing assessment by the Productivity Commission last month, which criticised governments for failing to fulfil their commitments outlined in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The review asserted that governments have “largely not fulfilled their commitments” and continued to operate under business-as-usual models, failing to grasp the necessary magnitude of change.

In its commitment to health equity, GSK Australia has announced the launch of its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), developed in partnership with DENAT Group and Wayarang, and endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. This plan aims to leverage the company’s expertise in healthcare to bridge the Indigenous health gap and contribute to Australia’s reconciliation journey.

“Our Innovate RAP is guided by our vision for reconciliation to take meaningful steps where individuals are valued, respected and celebrated. Our new RAP reinforces our ongoing commitment towards reconciliation, while providing us with a framework to turn our good intentions into action,” the company said.

Reconciliation Australia’s latest RAP Impact Measurement Report, which covers the period from July 2022 to June 2023, provides insights into the progress made by organisations with a Reconciliation Action Plan. Key findings include a significant increase in the number of people working or studying in organisations with a RAP, totalling over 5.4 million – an increase of 44% since 2022.

Leadership commitment and representation from First Nations people in decision-making positions are highlighted as crucial factors for driving change. The report notes improvements in this area, with 574 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now holding executive leadership positions in RAP organizations, along with 606 individuals serving on boards. Additionally, the formation of 18,588 formal and informal partnerships between RAP organisations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations underscores the collaborative efforts underway to address systemic inequalities.

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