Aboriginal health is not just about the well-being of physical health of a human being, but it is as well related to his emotional, social, and cultural development in a favorable environment. The health service provided by an Aboriginal community is regulated by an Aboriginal body which is formed through election at local level. The Aboriginal health service providing community is actually an integration of local Aboriginal sub-committees which are initiated by various other Aboriginal communities that work toward deliverance of physically and culturally comprehensive services to the community that controls it. Australian government funds the mainstream indigenous primary healthcare service providing organizations for facilitating the Aboriginal health programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Alford, 2014). Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) work in various fronts for improving the health and well-being of indigenous people. Through community controlled governance, it works for providing holistic and accessible healthcare to the community people, and for providing training and employment which in turn bolsters the health system in broader sense. The importance and role of ACCH in improving Aboriginal health is long argued among Aboriginal communities though (Campbell et al., 2017).
It is found through studies that the short life expectancy and impoverished health conditions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are the effect of imparity in health facilities provided to them compared to the Australians who shows high life expectancies like the people of other rich countries around the world. Indigenous Australians show average life expectancy ten to seventeen years less than the Australians. Death rate of among Aboriginal children is more than twice than that of Australian babies (Bywood et al., 2015). Finally, the adults of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island show comparatively higher rate of preventable illnesses such as diabetes, renal and cardiac failures and respiratory diseases (AIH infonet, 2016). To bridge the gap in ‘life expectancy’ and additional health related problems of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people, health care delivery by nurses might play a critical role (Drummond and Cox, 2016).
Accessibility of health services for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is far below the expected level. The primary reason is lack of comprehensive Aboriginal primary healthcare services and secondarily reason is disparity in share of mainstream programs with the Australians. It is observed that demographic trends and region specific health needs are ignored during distribution of Government funds. The reports show minimal status improvement in healthcare despite escalations in government health expenditure over last decade. ACCH which has documented to have delivered the best results among Aboriginal Australians is again found to be among least funded sectors compared to other healthcare service providing communities (Alford, 2014).
Lack of mainstream primary care services continues to be the reason behind the unfulfilled needs of health and poor quality life of Aboriginal Australians. Appropriate healthcare services are to be formulated so that it would be affordable, acceptable and easily accessible to each and every one. The targets to reduce the gap among health care needs of Aboriginal and Australian people can be accomplished by:
Alford, K. (2014). Economic value of Aboriginal community controlled health services. National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). Retrieved from: https://nacchocommunique.com/2014/04/02/.
Australian Human Rights Commission (2013). Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples - Declaration Dialogue Series -Discussion Paper 4: Ensuring the ongoing survival of the oldest living culture in the world, 6.
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (2016). Summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, 2015. Perth, WA: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
Bywood, P.T., Raven, M., & Erny-Albrecht, K. (2015). Improving health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, babies and young children: A literature review. Adelaide: Primary Health Care Research & Information Service.
Campbell, M. A., Hunt, J., Scrimgeour, D.J., Davey, M., & Jones, V. (2017). Contribution of Aboriginal community-controlled health services to improving Aboriginal health: an evidence review. Australian Health Review, Online: https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16149
Drummond, A., & Cox, L. (2016). Indigenous health history and wellness within nursing curriculum. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 23(8), 35.
Schokman, B., & Russel, L. (2017). Moving beyond recognition: Respecting the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Melanie Scafie (Ed.) Oxfam Australia.
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