Discuss about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
The prominent inequalities between all health outcomes of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in the country have been time and again documented in a detailed manner. In here, indigenous population denotes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. Speaking at the very fundamental level, very important statistical data indicate that indigenous Australians suffer higher disability, morbidity and mortality across different conditions and at all stages of life span (Kelaher et al., 2014). The main health complications that this population experience includes diabetes, renal disease, intentional injury, cardiovascular disease, a higher rate of hospitalisation and mental health problems. The burden of illness leads to the increased economic burden for health care sector as well as social burden across the different communities. Life expectancy is the summary measure of mortality and it indicates the indicator for social equity (Murray et al., 2015). The present paper aims to outline the strategies that are noteworthy for holding the potential to bring improvement in the burden of illness and life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. The paper is based on evidences extracted from a wide range of literature that indicate some beneficial measures that when implemented would likely reduce the social and economic burden of poor health outcomes of this population across communities.
Data collected over the past few decades point out that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians suffer poor heath outcomes as compared to their counterparts. A number of challenges are faced by this population when commucniating their health needs and accessing health care facilities. Differences have been pointed out in the culture, perceptions, social beliefs and attitudes between the two set of the population that have contributed to this gap between the health conditions of the two populations. The Australian government is showing heightened commitment to bring improvement in the health and wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians by bridging the gaps prevalent between the heath outcomes of this population with the wider population. There is an urgent need of implementing valuable strategies, resting upon evidence from literature and research, that would bring about a positive change in this context (Brittet al., 2013).
The vision that is to be followed for successful implementation of novice and evidence-based strategies has to focus on the prevalence of prejudice and racism between the two population. The aim has to be on the reduction of inequality and racism so that the indigenous population receive appropriate healthcare services without any major challenges. The services provided are to be affordable, high quality, effective and appropriate that address the comprehensive needs of the population. The principles of the strategies would be resting upon health equality and human rights approach, partnership, community control and engagement and accountability (Barclay et al., 2014). As highlighted by Couzos and Thiele (2016) if the Indigenous population are to be made free from the burden of illness and if their life expectancy are to be enhanced, the most crucial step would be to acknowledge the culture, traditions and values that they uphold. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population have the right to live a safe and healthy life wherein they are empowered and supported continually. Further, it is important that they establish a healthy and strong connection to the other parts of the country. Embracing the culture of this population would strengthen the bond between the two populations and the indigenous population would be motivated and encouraged to access adequate health care services that are safe and culturally sensitive. The population is to be actively engaged in decision making process regarding their own healthcare. Support is to be given to the population by education, housing, employment and diverse programs having the focus on elimination of causes of health inequality (Singer et al., 2015).
Uplifting emotional and social wellbeing of the Aboriginals and Torres Islander population would also serve as a key approach for promoting preventive and clinical care. Mothers and infants of the indigenous population suffer drastic negative health outcomes and have less access to healthcare services. Based on subjective data on health outcomes for mothers and children the strategy that comes into focus is the delivery of best possible support and care provided to the mothers and children. Coming to the adult population, they are to be given support, care and resources for managing their health. The aim would be to ensure they have productive and longer live spans similar to that of the non-indigenous population. In addition, older people must be supported to have an active and healthy life that is comfortable and culturally secure (Browne et al., 2017).
High quality healthcare for indigenous population needs to be accessible and appropriate addressing the needs of the population. Coordinated and culturally appropriate services across the health system, taking into account hospital care, primary health care, and aged care would certainly bring improvement in the patient journey (Dockery, 2017). The strategies for this goal would be implementation of a National Anti-racism Strategy, and identification and promotion of a health practice to prevent systematic racism. These would eliminate incidents of anxiety, depression and psychological distress. As opined by Smith et al., (2015) the inability to deliver mainstream services lies at the core of continuing health disadvantage. The goal would therefore be to deliver care that is responsive. The clinical effectiveness of the health system for this population needs to be improved. A significant measure would be to improve access to health information comprehensive of eHealth. This idea emerges from the fact that a number of indigenous individuals face lack of transport and suffer language barrier while accessing care services. Continual funding for community controlled health organisations would be critical. Priority is to be given to the development of primary healthcare systems. Regional infrastructure is to support governance, coordination, planning, workforce development and accreditation process.
Kilcullen et al., (2017) have pointed out that social and emotional well strategies are to be integrated into practice if best possible health outcomes are to be achieved and burden of disease is to be reduced. For Aboriginal and Torres Islander people this is applicable. The government must take initiatives to promote wellbeing through counselling sessions. These sessions can be conducted at the settings were the population has most access to. Adults and adolescents are to be icnldued in this. Sessions are to be conducted separately for adults and adolescents since the topics of the sessions would be different. Some valuable topics that can be considered are sexual health, depression, anxiety and substance abuse, including alcohol and tobacco. Promoting the relationship across drug and alcohol services, and mental health would increase community awareness and education on the different measures and tools to deal with illicit use of tobacco and alcohol. Some other strategies in this respect include culturally safe and family-centric services for communities. Work is to be done to reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people in the criminal justice system such as a National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework (Parker & Milroy, 2014)
Whole-of-life structure is imperative for ensuring that the indigenous population are healthy and enjoy the similar life expectancy to that of the non-indigenous population. The forte of utilising a whole-of-life structure lies in its potential to focus on broader factors affecting health as people age gradually (Naidoo& Wills, 2016). Multiple health conditions suggestively become the cause of disproportionality in the health status between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the non-Indigenous population. Implementing suitable interventions against these challenges would identify an approach that is multi-layered towards modification of risk factors. The top risk factors requiring immediate attention include tobacco, obesity, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, alcohol, low fruit and vegetable intake and high blood pressure. Changes in policy is needed immediately that addresses these concerns. Complementing system-wide health service delivery that addresses these key factors would need to encompass population targeted activities. Policies are to be brought into practice regarding nutritious foods being given to at-risk mothers and children (Edelman et al., 2013).
Lastly, for addressing the needs of the mothers and at-risk children, maternity services are to be improved along with advanced birthing options. Increasing access to positive parenting services and programs would also be desirable in relation to family support, early childhood development, alcohol consumption and other certain issues. Antenatal care is to be broadened for including support for preinatal depression, maternal stress, breastfeeding, and maternal nutrition. Increasing the duration and rates of breastfeeding would be aligned with this step (Baum, 2016).
In conclusion, it can be stated that there is an increased need of closing the gap between the health outcomes of the indigenous and the non-indigenous population. Strategies, as outlined above, would be beneficial for addressing the needs of this population that encompass diverse aspects. The strategies that have been mentioned in here emerge from the data reflecting the issues and the challenges faced by this population at large and across the different communities. It is imperative to sustain the implementation of these strategies so that long-term objectives can be fulfilled. The government must come forward with adequate funding options so that health care organisations can allocate resources when and where required. Collaboration between governmental and non-governmental bodies would be crucial in this regard. Exchange of information between the different layers of the organisations would be needed to understand the future needs of addressing the gaps in health inequality among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
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