The indigenous Australian people have been facing myriads of health-related challenges for a long time. Generally, their health standard is quite dismal. According to Murray, the indigenous people of Australia are generally a sick population (1586). This paper offers brief discussion of the health issues affecting the Australian indigenous people who are known as the aborigines.
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To begin with, the Australian aborigines have suffered for long owing to poor access to effective healthcare services. For example, the child mortality rate among the aborigines is quite high. It should be understood that this segment of the Australian population hardly receives the full attention of the government in regards to healthcare delivery.
The high child mortality rate is mainly worsened by young mothers who give birth while still underage. In other words, teenage pregnancy is on the rise. Since most of these young parents are not employed, they can hardly fend for their children. This has led to malnutrition and early death of infants.
Another health issue affecting this group is rampant smoking habits. There are certain regions dominated by the Australian aborigines that have revealed startling figures on smoking habit. For instance, some regions record as high as 50% of a local smoking population. This is obviously a lifestyle issue that has aggravated the living condition of the aborigines. Smoking has been observed among young mothers, teenagers, middle-aged men and women as well as among old people aged over 65 years.
Sexually transmitted infections are also on the rise among the aborigines. This trend has been largely contributed by the degrading social values. The issue of morality seems to be a major concern among the young age groups. When the healthcare challenges affecting the aborigines are combined, the net effect is a short lifespan. For instance, life expectancy among women is about forty five years. Other unhealthy social practices among the aborigines include drug and substance abuse, crime and poor nutrition.
The Australian government began taking succinct measures way back in 2006 so that the healthcare delivery to the aborigines could be improved. As it stands now, several healthcare related programs targeting the community have been put in place. Healthy social practices, risky sexual habits and prohibition of drug and substance abuse are being encouraged by both community based organizations and government agencies.
The overall health standards of the Australian aborigines can be improved if the necessary measures are put in place by the relevant government agencies. For instance, the current health policies targeting the aborigines should be amended with an immediate effect (Stanley 302). It is apparent that policy formulation and implementation regarding the health needs of the aborigines is not in place. All the minority groups that are disadvantaged in this country should be considered when health policies are being formulated.
Second, there is urgent need to revamp the education sector. Most health related challenges that are being faced by the Australian aborigines are worsened by the poor state of education. Case examples include teenage pregnancies, malnutrition, drug and substance abuse. If this segment of the population is allowed to pass through a rigorous education system, then most of these challenges will be minimized (Ritchie 63).
Finally, family and social immorality among the aborigines has significantly contributed towards several undesired habits such as smoking, alcoholism, sexual abuse and crime. Social values should be counterchecked in order to alleviate the rising number of young people who end up as social misfits. Therefore, guidance and counseling as well as rehabilitation centers should be set up so as to counteract the social healthcare problems (Barnett and Kendall 29).
Barnett, Leda and Elizabeth, Kendall. “Culturally appropriate methods for enhancing the participation of aboriginal Australians in health-promoting programs”. Health Promotion Journal of Australia 22.1(2010): 27-32. Print.
Murray, Sally. “Australians MDs decry poor state of aboriginal health. Canadian Medical Association Journal 168.12 (2003): 1583-1587. Print.
Ritchie, Jan. “Why we need success stories in reporting the health of Australian aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples: A personal perspective”. Global Health Promotion 17.4 (2010): 61-64. Print.
Stanley, Nangala. “Aboriginal and torres strait islander health: Todays challenges, tomorrow’s opportunities”. Australian Health Review, 32.2(2008): 302-304. Print.