Aborigines are native inhabitants in Australia who amount to about 2% of the total population (Anderson et al., 2006). From a careful review of literature, there exists overwhelming evidence that the aborigines have been suffering from prolonged health crisis. Unlike other countries in the world where the standards of health for the entire population are equitably considered, it has not been the same case with this cultural group in Australia.
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In this case, the Aboriginal group has lagged behind in terms of healthcare provision since 1880s (Hill, Barker & Vos, 2007). Proven evidences that have been used to testify the claim reveal that the rate of infant mortality among the Aborigines is higher by 80% as compared to other ethnic groups in Australia. Besides, the population experiences poorer health services than any other ethnic or cultural group in Australia (Hill, Barker & Vos, 2007).
Some of the profound factors that have undoubtedly led to poor health among this population include climate, geography and the Indigenous culture (Anderson et al., 2006). Research has shown that efforts have been put in place for several decades to improve the health standards of the Aborigines without much success.
The failure to achieve success is yet to be fully accounted for. However, the major issue which explains the state is the fact that there are Australians who live in poor social economic conditions with limited access to health services and personnel.
The major health issue among this cultural group is the increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes. Surveys have shown that approximately 30% of the aborigines who are adults suffer from type 2 diabetes (Hill, Barker & Vos, 2007). In line with this, diabetes has been known to trigger infections that impede hearing.
Critique the literature on the concerned health issue
It is imperative to explore and criticize some of the pieces of literature that have been presented in regards to disparity in healthcare provision among the Aborigines of Australia. It has been noted this segment of the Australian population has a lower life expectancy compared to other ethnic groups.
Dragon and Anderson (2011) note that “although this may be the case on the ground, the high rate of mortality is likely to be caused by genetic predispositions that make this ethnic group more prevalent to certain diseases.” Studies have shown that the population is more prevalent to diseases (Humphreys et al., 2002).
This appears bearing in mind that their cultural practices like the eating of raw food hinder sanitation. This has largely contributed to high prevalence contagious diseases. Disease agents find it easy to move from one host to another during the peoples’ daily interactions like the sharing of dishes. This has much to do with the whole issue of poor health among the Aboriginal people.
The main health issue that arises out of the health concern for the population group
It is notable that the main health issue that arises due to the identified health concern is that there is a high rate of mortality among infants, young children, youths, adults and aged people.
This has to do with the unexpected many cases of diabetes a dietary disease. It is ironical that this ailment has managed to pose a threat to the lives of many (Humphreys et al., 2002). Indeed, all the age groups within this cultural group are at high risk of early death. Consequently, poor health status has reduced the average life expectancy of the population.
Inequities and social justice aspects of the health issue for the Aboriginal population
Despite the truth that geography and climate have been the major determinants of the population’s health, it is apparent that inequality and social isolation in urban places has also increased the prevalence of the health issues facing the Aborigines(Ziersch et al., 2011). It is evident that a significant percentage of Aboriginal community lives in rural areas that are remote and quite isolated. This denies them the opportunity to access health services frequently (Hill, Barker & Vos, 2007).
Notably, it proves to be expensive in terms of accessing healthcare institutions due to geographical barriers. It is evident that efforts made by the health sector to improve healthcare delivery do target mainly the non-aborigines (Ziersch et al., 2011).
This is due to the fact that health services have largely been established in regions where only a small portion of the population benefits. Therefore, one can argue that there is a form of social injustice since the general health services do not adequately and equitably benefit the aborigines (Ziersch et al., 2011).
The health standard of the Indigenous people of Australia has remained dismal. On a conclusive point of view, Murray (2003) gives a verdict that the Australian Aboriginal people are generally in a bad state of health. He points out that the major woe of these people is not a certain scourge.
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This population is significantly incapacitated by all sorts of maladies (Murray, 2003). There is need for an optimized and diversified health outcome which can produce holistic and desired results. It I also necessary to evaluate the existing health policies by highlighting factors which affect their health in addition to offering strategic suggestions which are likely to redeem the general well being of the Aborigines in Australia.
Ritchie (2010) in his study notes that health is a sensitive and commonly underestimated pillar of well being. He argues that good health involves both the physical and psychological well being of a population in any given society (Ritchie, 2010). It is clearly critical that this priority area should be source of the needed stability. Nangala (2008) reveals that the health condition among the Australian aboriginal people calls for consistent concerns.
The public authorities have continued to display their efforts. Many reviews have shown that the government’s interventions have relatively normalized the situation (Kehoe & Lovett, 2008). However, this happens to be a compromised and misguided case of health outcome in terms of reporting.
Ritchie (2010) argues that the Aboriginal people are generally a sick population which is in need of specialized health care (Murray, 2003). The social and cultural aspect of these folks displays a relatively high dysfunction. The young, old and middle aged people have habits of smoking. Kehoe and Lovett (2008) note that there is over 50% of smoking rate in some of the areas dominated by the Aboriginals.
It is not clearly evidenced that the conditions of health vary according to localities. Studies have kept being conducted. Research reveals that health statistics show that the standards of health in Aboriginal areas are lower than all other areas and women have a life expectancy of as low as forty five years (Barnett & Kendall, 2011).
Studies show that this is a perfect representation of the basic status of the Indigenous people of Australia (Barnett & Kendall, 2011). Petrol sniffing is a common practice among remote natives of any Aboriginal community. This is a serious health issue which calls for intervention by all the concerned parties. Sexual practices among these people are not consistent and safe either. There are special concerns which demand tailor made solutions. The ‘condoman and black snakes’ culture is a potential risky behavior (Nangala, 2008).
In order to adequately address the health disparity among the natives in Australia the limited access to medication especially among remote persons needs to be tackled by the establishment of more community hospitals. Inequalities in healthcare delivery have been experienced as a result of evident racial discrimination (Murray, 2003).
More Aboriginal doctors and nurses have to be trained and deployed. Ritchie (2010) underscores that the poor health practices among the Australian Aborigines is a result of poor communication. This has resulted from understaffing of healthcare facilities that provide health services to the Aborigines in Australia.
The efforts towards generating health among the Aboriginal people of Australia were structured with the aim of providing basic healthcare services (Barnett & Kendall, 2011).
The government has been keen in championing for equity and social justice, sustainability of resources, stabilization of all ecosystems, favorable income flow, education for all, shelter and peace (Murray, 2003). There has been advocacy for political, environmental, biological and economic health of all citizens. In addition, healthy standards have been promoted through the creation of a favorable living condition.
Moreover, equity is a critical attribute that has to be prioritized in healthcare systems (Kehoe & Lovett, 2008). This has not been fully attained especially among the Aboriginal health. This segment of the Australian population cannot reach the optimal or full health potential unless equitability in healthcare is achieved.
There have been efforts of incorporating all the sectors of the nation in achieving basic healthcare for all. However, it has proved to be an immense challenge since the synchrony of the media, volunteer organizations and local government authorities have taken a long time without being achieved (Kehoe & Lovett, 2008). Professionals, communities, families, individuals and social groups need to be informed that the pursuit for health is a responsibility of every citizen (Ritchie, 2010).
There are quite a number of strategic measures that can improve the overall health status of the Aborigines in Australia. This ranges from the construction of new structures in the healthcare system to the formulation and amendment of existing health policies. Nangala (2008) recommends that the agenda of making health policies should have the input of all minority groups and not just those who are dominating the population.
The healthcare policy should be made more complementary through the inclusion of organizational changes, all tax payers, fiscal measures and new legislations (Barnett & Kendall, 2011). Moreover, the environment of the native Australian population needs to be made more supportive.
The relationship between healthcare provision and the environment should be made be re-formulated in order to enhance environmental factors that promote health. One of the most important issues that influence healthcare delivery is the responsiveness of the community at large. As such, the aboriginal people in Australia ought to be empowered to learn how to manage their individual health standards.
This can be effectively achieved through the continuous implementation of public education through the media, workshops and seminars. There are several factors which have worked against the health of this target group. The disregard of the ecological importance in native areas, disorientation of health service provision, lack of supportive services and existence of health gaps among different groups of people need to be addressed.
The cultivation of health seeking behavior among citizens has to be made more vigorous. The efforts of creating healthy Aborigine societies can only get to fruition if the population will be informed why it needs to utilize the available health facilities. Improvement of the available resources has to be done promptly.
On the other hand, the substantial good health has been enabled by positive public commitments, proper planning for better future, continuous actions aimed at reorienting aboriginal health service providers and the strengthening of community health programs (Ritchie, 2010). This calls for an action by all international health organizations to be proactive and support countries in formulating and implementing strategies aimed at obtaining equity in global health.
The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion Framework
From the discussion above, it is certain that there are measures that can be taken in order to optimize equality in healthcare outcomes related to the health concerns among the aboriginal people in Australia. According to Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion Framework, Hill, Barker and Vos (2007) note there are viable strategies that can be used to help the population achieve their social well-being in terms of health.
From this charter, it is evident that social justice and equity are some of the prerequisites that enhance good health in any population. Public health policies have to revised and amended to improve their proficiency. The strengthening of communities by creating supportive environments is en essential step. A universal re-orientation of heath care services will enhance the citizens’ knowledge. This can be done through nationwide campaigns.
The government should establish and provide healthcare services not just to the entire population but with a keen interest to groups of people which are in much need. The Aborigine case should be given the much needed focus to avoid disparities which have been earlier experienced (Dragon & Anderson, 2011). It is imperative to note that the Aboriginal culture is a huge barrier towards seeking medical services.
Therefore, the government should try to promote and boost the literacy level to ensure that a significant number in the population get to know the implication of seeking healthcare services (Hill, Barker, Vos, 2007). In line with this, the government should develop positive interest in understanding the Aboriginal culture, a factor that will enable it to device strategies to improve their lifestyles.
Notably, letting people to realize their need to seek healthcare has to be incorporated with Health Promotion, acknowledging diversity and the multidimensional and diverse solutions to problems. Research has revealed that a very small proportion of the Aboriginal nurses have the opportunity to work in healthcare sector (Dragon & Anderson, 2011). This can be used to portray the level of social injustice and inequality in health sector.
Therefore, it is recommended that the government should increase the number of Aboriginal nurses in healthcare sector. Notably, this will eventually influence the population culture to adopt and embrace secure healthcare services. There should be well established community controlled services by the Aboriginal community in order to foster their responsibility and understanding of the need for healthcare services (Hill, Barker & Vos, 2007).
Needless to say, the general health services and clinics should be distributed equally even in remote and isolated regions. This can be achieved by carrying out medical camps to less privileged areas. This is an efficient consumer based approach of proving health care. It will enable the Aboriginal people to adequately benefit from the services (Humphreys et al., 2002). Instinctively, there are enablers that can be used to spearhead suggested actions.
For example, building a healthy public policy that will ensure that health agenda target all levels and regions in Australia in order to achieve positive results for the entire population (Anderson et al, 2006). Another enabler is creating a supportive environment within the society. This implies that the government and healthcare providers should create awareness of the public on the need to maintain healthy relationship with each other and the environment.
This is due to the fact that lifestyle patterns are likely to affect both the environment and health of the community (Anderson et al., 2006). This idea should be implemented in all the communities regardless of their cultural practices. The current supportive environment for Indigenous health will be more efficient if it is modified to have a more intensive recognition of values and cultural beliefs- using strength based approach to work with the people.
Nevertheless, it is imperative to note that there are numerous barriers to the suggested actions. For instance, the aspect of cultural security is one of the major barriers for the suggested strategies (Anderson et al., 2006). This is due to the fact that the Aboriginal people highly value their cultural identity. Research has shown that to some extent, seeking medical services is culturally unacceptable in some regions (Dragon & Anderson, 2011).
Moreover, extreme lifestyles of among the Aborigines are a serious barrier in dealing with the identified health issues. For instance, smoking has been reported to be a common habit among the Aboriginal community with a prevalence of 40-80% (Hill, Barker & Vos, 2007).
Anderson, I. et al. (2006). Indigenous health in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific.The Lancet, 367(9524),1775-1785.
Barnett, L., & Kendall, E. (2011). Culturally appropriate methods for enhancing the participation of aboriginal australians in health-promoting programs. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 22(1), 27-32.
Dragon, N., & Anderson, K. (2011). Indigenous health: taking the next step. Australian Nursing Journal, 19(2), 24-8.
Hill, K., Barker, B. & Vos, T. (2007). Excess Indigenous mortality: are Indigenous Australians more severely disadvantaged than other Indigenous populations? International Journal of Epidemiology, 36(3), 580-589.
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Ziersch, A. et al (2011). Responding to racism: Insights on how racism can damage health from an urban study of Australian Aboriginal people. Social Science & Medicine, 73(7), 1045.