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In this assignment we are going to discuss about the aboriginal community in Redfern. As per the Census report 2011, in Redfern, there are about 12,035 aboriginal people, which constitute about 2.4% of the population of Redfern (Newworldencyclopedia.org, 2015). Redfern can be identified as a suburb, which is located about 3 km south of the capital of South Wales, Sidney. It is under the control of the local government of Sidney.

The origin of the aboriginals is not clear. It is believed that they are the migrants of Asia, who came to Australia about 30,000 to 70,000 years ago. There are about 500- 600 groups in the aboriginals. There are also many language groups as well as cultural variations in the aboriginals. Previously they were the hunters and gatherers.

As per the Census report of 2011, compared to the non indigenous people, the aboriginals are quite younger. The average age of about one third of the population of the indigenous people is below 15 years. Compared to the 14% of non indigenous people, about 4% of the aboriginals were at the age of 65 years or more (Healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au, 2015).

As per the 2011census, 2.9% of the aboriginals were located in NSW and among them the distribution of gender was more or less equal i.e. males- 3,481,202 and females- 3,528, 851 (Biddle, 2011).

The religious demography of the aboriginals is not prominent. As per the census report of 1996, Christianity was practised by about 72% of the aboriginals and in case of about 16% aboriginals, no specific religion was mentioned. Again the 2001 census reported that there was an increase in the Islamic religion among the aboriginals.

The aboriginals are the strong believers of tradition and spirituality. The spiritual values are associated with the ancestral spirits that include Baiame, Rainbow Serpent, Yowie and Bunjil etc.

As per the data, only 1.7% aboriginals in were employed in 2011 and in 2009, the unemployment rate was 18%. Around 63% of the aboriginals are paid less compared to the 48% of all employees. The gap in the unemployment rate between the aboriginals and the non aboriginals was 12.6% in the year 2009.

The average income of the aboriginals is only 70% of the average income of the non-indigenous people of Australia. About 25% of the aboriginals are homeless and poor.

Most of the aboriginals stay in the rural and remote areas (27%). Though a considerable proportion of them stay in the urban areas, they are generally devoid of the facilities provided to the non aboriginals. As a result the physical environment of these people is often poor.

Transportation safety is a major issue among the aboriginals. As per the studies by Helps and Harrison (2006) showed that the rate of motor vehicle injury is 1.5 times higher in case of aboriginal people compared to the non aboriginals. The main reasons for the increased fatality rate due to road accidents are the lack of road safety education and training, unlicensed drivers and unsafe practice of driving etc.

Brief History of the Population

The right to vote for the aboriginals came into force in the year 1965 and in the year 1967, the aboriginals came under the Australian legislation. Indigenous Australians are also allowed to take part in the Australian Parliament but the numbers are too low.

It has been found that the tendency of leaving the schools earlier is greater among the aboriginal students. Also the level of participation in education is very low. As per the report, only 10% aboriginal students get graduated and only 40% student stay at school up to 12 year. In 2009, the rate of preschool enrolment was only 64% and there are only 0.7% aboriginals who are associated with teaching (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009).

The aboriginals play football like games for their recreation. The game is called Marn Grook. The children play a game called weet weet for recreation. Music is also a form of recreation which involves the use of instruments that are developed by these people. The instruments include- didgeridoo, clapping sticks etc. One of the most popular bands of modern times is the Youth Yindi, who plays a music called the aboriginal rock.

The mortality rate of the aboriginals is quite higher compared to the mortality rate of the non aboriginals across all groups of age. In 2004- 08, the mortality rate of aboriginal males was 1.9 times more than the mortality rate of the non aboriginal males and in case of females the mortality rate was 2 times higher in the aboriginals. The aboriginal infant mortality was also 2- 3 times higher (AIHW, 2011).

The most prevalent communicable diseases that are associated with the increased death rate and poor health condition of the aboriginal people include-

  • Tuberculosis (lung infection). The rate of the infection is about 11 times higher in case of the aboriginal people.
  • Hepatitis (viral infection of the liver).
  • Invasive pneumococcal disease – the diseases is 4 times more prevalent in the aboriginal population.
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) the rate of HIV infection in 2012 was similar for both the aboriginals and the non aboriginals (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012).
  • STD or sexually transmissible diseases. These include syphilis, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia etc. The incidence of STD is higher in non indigenous people.
  • Meningococcal diseases- the rate is 4 times high in case of the aboriginals.

As per the data in the year 2004-05, the breast feeding rate in the aboriginals was 79% compared to the non aboriginals in which the rate is 88% (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006). The maximum breast feeding duration for the non aboriginals was 130 weeks, which in case of non aboriginals was 156 weeks.

The reports have shown that less than 90% children belonging to the aboriginal community are under the immunization process (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013).

The health behaviour of the aboriginals is mostly associated with the practices that increase the risk of getting various negative health conditions. These include-

  • Smoking- the proportion of aboriginals above the age of 15 years who smoke, accounts for nearly 41%.
  • Alcohol consumption- the proportion of aboriginal adults who are associated with the consumption of alcohol at a potentially risky level is 19.2%. The alcohol consumption is 30% higher in case of the aboriginal women compared to non aboriginal women (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009).
  • About 1 in 5 people belonging to aboriginal population use illicit substances.
  • Low level of physical activity (62%).
  • Inadequate nutrition.
  • Obesity (30% aboriginal children). The rate of obesity is 1.5 times higher in aboriginals.

Due to the increased mortality as well as disease rate, the Government has provided a number of health services to the aboriginals in order to promote their health and wellbeing. In Redfern, the Aboriginal Medical Services provide the necessary medical care to the aboriginals. The organization was established in the year 1971, when the aboriginals were devoid of any health services. This organization is associated with ensuring physical as well as mental health of the aboriginals.

The risk factors that are associated with the ill health of the aboriginals include-

  • Low socio economic condition
  • Unemployment
  • Poor household condition
  • Unhygienic surroundings
  • Lower education regarding the health issues
  • Poor nutrition
  • Lower level of physical activity
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption at a high rate etc. (Carson et al., 2007).

The local government of Redfern has provided the aboriginals with a number of healthcare and other facilities. In Redfern, the Aboriginal Housing Company is associated with providing better housing facilities to the aboriginals which will in turn improve the health condition of the people.

Age and Gender Distribution

There are various health services for the aboriginals in the country. These include-

  • Marrin Weejali Aboriginal Cultural and Spiritual Healing Centre
  • Orana Haven

Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (Marles, Frame and Royce, 2015)

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)

Vibe Australia etc. (Howden, 2014).

Why are they disadvantaged?

The main reasons for their being disadvantaged is their socio economic condition and the cultural difference with the non aboriginals. Due to the traditional cultural beliefs, they are being separated from the modern non aboriginal people of the country. Again due to the poor socio economic condition, they are unable to avail all the health services and facilities used by the non aboriginals.

In order to promote the development of the aboriginals, the Redfern Foundation was established in 1998 which provides support to the Redfern Aboriginal Community. They aim to create an aboriginal community that is self supporting, healthy and self dependent (Redfernfoundation, 2015).

Around this community the national priorities include promoting both the physical and mental health of the people. The priorities also include promoting proper health education in order to eliminate the adverse health habits among the people (Barani, 2015).

The prominent health issues of the aboriginals that can be identified include-

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Malnutrition
  • Use of drugs and other illicit substances
  • Smoking
  • Mental illness
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Communicable diseases etc.

The 5 important health issues of aboriginals that need immediate consideration include-

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drugs
  • smoking
  • Domestic violence
  • Mental illness

In this assignment the priority is given to the alcohol abuse which is very prevalent among the aboriginals. Consumption of a large amount of alcohol is associated with a number of health issues including- diabetes, liver diseases, brain damage, cardiovascular disease, injury and violence, self harm etc.

The health promotion plan addressing the alcohol abuse should include-

  • Proper assessment of the reason for the high rate of alcohol consumption- one of the main reasons is the depression that is caused due to the basic needs that are not fulfilled (Hou, 2011).
  • Depending on the assessment, the proper collaboration with some of the aboriginal community services is required in order to imply the plan.
  • In the plan, focus should be given not only to the abused persons but also to the family members who can provide proper help to the persons.
  • The plan will include proper spread of education regarding the effects of the alcohol and the measures that can be used to decrease the consumption.
  • Collaboration with the local government for proper addressing of the problem.

Proper assessment of the reasons behind the consumption will help to address the problem better. The plan should include the local aboriginal community services in order to reduce the cultural and psychological barrier (Batten and Holdaway, 2010). The effect of the community services will be much broader compared to individual attempt (Nishtar, 2007). Proper education is the key fact that can help controlling the consumption. Involving the family members is very important as their influence will be much stronger. Collaboration with the local government is also necessary in order to provide the aboriginals with the basic needs that will help them to reduce the consumption.

This strategy will not only influence the abused persons to decrease the consumption but also increase the level of awareness among the aboriginals. Addressing the basic needs will promote the health and wellbeing of the people.

Why do you believe it is effective

This plan is very effective, as it is based on the community level and it involves the local community services. Involving community services will reduce the language and cultural barrier with the aboriginals and will increase the influence rate. This approach will help to reduce the abuse significantly (Nishtar, 2007). Again focusing on the family members along with the abused persons is a very real-time approach. The alcohol users generally avoid the services that will help them to quit the habit. In this case family members will be very helpful (Wiggins, 2011). Proper education of the family members regarding the fact will in turn help the family members to take necessary measures in order to help the abused. Collaboration with the government increases the effectiveness of the plan, as meeting the needs of the people will make them stress free and less addicted to alcohol.

Ethnicity and Religion

Various government and non government organizations including the community health service providers can actively take part in order to imply the plan properly. Involvement of the government is also very necessary. Collaboration can be achieved by proper approach and proper planning. The strength of the plan will influence the various organizations to come forward and take active part.

The resources that are needed include-

  • Involvement of the healthcare professionals for designing the plan properly
  • Involvement of the government and the various organization
  • Sufficient funding in order to organize various programs focusing on the issue.
  • Cooperation of the general people foe proper implementation of the plan.

Partnership is needed for proper implementation of the plan and funding. Partnership among the various government and non-government organizations, local community service providers and the local aboriginal people will be helpful. The plan is very realistic and value based.

Proper implementation of the plan will surely decrease the rate of alcohol consumption. Addressing the basic needs will help the aboriginals to be less involved in the addictions. This will in turn promote the health and wellbeing and also reduce various disease incidences associated with high alcohol consumption.

The community based approach involving the local community services will make the approach more acceptable to the local people, as the traditional and cultural values will be maintained properly.

The difficulties may rise due to communication and cultural barriers which can be easily addressed by involving the local community services.

According to me, this kind of initiative is very real time. Most of the initiatives that are taken to address the specific health issue are focused only on the persons involved in alcohol consumption. But in this approach we are also focusing on the family members, who play significant roles in a person’s life and have the potential to pose significant influence of the person’s life. They are the first persons who can take immediate measures in reducing the adverse health habit. So, proper education to the family members regarding the fact is focused in this plan. As we are addressing the aboriginals, proper respect to their tradition and culture is very important that can be achieved by involving the local community. So, to me this approach is value based, effective and realistic. 

References

AIHW (2011). Life expectancy and mortality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Cat. no. IHW 51. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 26 May 2015 

Australia.gov.au, (2015). austn-indigenous-cultural-heritage | australia.gov.au. [online] Available at: https://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-indigenous-cultural-heritage [Accessed 26 May 2015].

Australian Bureau of Statistics ( 2012). Australian Health Survey: first results, 2011–2012. ABS cat. no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS. ABS 2013. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: first results, Australia, 2012–13. ABS cat. no. 4727.0.55.001. Canberra

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006). National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey 2004–05. ABS cat. no. 4715.0. Canberra: ABS.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009) Experimental estimates and projections, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians 1991 to 2021. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012: detailed analyses. Cat. no. IHW 94. Canberra: AIHW.

Barani, (2015). Redfern Community Centre - Barani. [online] Available at: https://www.sydneybarani.com.au/sites/redfern-community-centre/ [Accessed 26 May 2015].

Batten, L. and Holdaway, M. (2010). The contradictory effects of timelines on community participation in a health promotion programme. Health Promotion International, 26(3), pp.330-337.

Biddle N. (2011). CAEPR Indigenous Population Project. Census Papers. Paper 11, Income.ANU,Canberra.

Carson B, Dunbar T, Chenhall RD and Bailie R, eds. (2007) Social determinants of Indigenous health. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen and Unwin

Healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au, (2015). Summary of Australian Indigenous health « Health facts « Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet. [online] Available at: https://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/health-facts/summary#what-is-known-about-the-indigenous-population [Accessed 26 May 2015].

Helps YLM and Harrison JE (2004). Reported injury mortality of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, 1997–2000,. Adelaide, AIHW.

Hou, S. (2011). Evaluating Public and Community Health Programs. Health Promotion Practice, 12(5), pp.641-644.

Howden, S. (2014). After four decades, Redfern's dream in tatters. The Sunday Morning Herald.

Marles, E., Frame, C. and Royce, M. (2015). RACGP - The Aboriginal Medical Service Redfern. [online] Racgp.org.au. Available at: https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/june/the-aboriginal-medical-service-redfern/ [Accessed 26 May 2015].

Newworldencyclopedia.org, (2015). Australian Aborigine - New World Encyclopedia. [online] Available at: https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Australian_Aborigine [Accessed 26 May 2015].

Nishtar, S. (2007). Community health promotion-- a step further. Promotion & Education, 14(2), pp.61-62.

Redfernfoundation.org.au, (2015). Welcome to The Redfern Foundation. [online] Available at: https://www.redfernfoundation.org.au/ [Accessed 26 May 2015].

Wiggins, N. (2011). Popular education for health promotion and community empowerment: a review of the literature. Health Promotion International, 27(3), pp.356-371.

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