Discuss about the Development of Potential Health Strategy for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander People.
The term health refers to the overall well being of an individual. In reference to health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, it requires to address the development of the complete community and bringing improvement in their life. It is significant to identify the various problems and factors impacting their life style, health and living. This essay will describe and address a potential health strategy that could be effectively used to offer the healthcare services for addressing the social, emotional cultural well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This essay is based on the statement of NAIHO that considers that health means overall well-being of people and improvement in every aspect of their life. The main aim of the potential health strategy would be work towards ‘closing the gap’.
Potential Health Strategy
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia have faced many historical and contemporary problems that have separated them from the non-indigenous population of the country. The potential health strategy must include different factors related to their social, cultural and economic status in the society. Due to many societal discrimination and prejudices these people had to face many disparities in healthcare and society. I believe that potential health strategy for these people require many aspects to cover that can work towards closing the gap, which includes, their life expectancy, main health issues, social issues, cultural issues, and will look towards identifying he causes resulting in disadvantage for the health of ATSI people.
The newly devised potential health strategy will find the various disparities that prevails the ATSI community. The first problem that prevails in this community is the occurrence of chronic diseases and decreased life expectancy. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous population of Australia. According to the report of Australian Indigenous Health (2016), the life expectancy of the Aboriginal men is 21 years less than that of non-indigenous men, and life expectancy in women is 19 years less. This data displays that potential health strategy requires addressing this gap.
According to me, potential health strategy not only addresses the healthcare needs of the ATSI people, but it will also focus on the socio-economic, cultural and psychological aspects affecting the health and well-being of these people. For closing the gap it is important to compare all the aspects of the life of ATSI people with the life of non-Indigenous population of Australia. This way we could achieve better information and data to implement the new strategy in a better way. It is also important to identify social determinants of health of ATSI people. This population is often ignored and their struggle in history has worsened their condition and detached them from remaining population. These people were forced to live their lands and to live with limited food and water resources. According to the study of Gibson et al, (2015), European colonization and displacement from their lands gradually reduced their socio-economic status and unemployment and diseases increased in their communities.
My proposed potential health strategy will help in closing the gap and will help in achieving the positive outcomes, because it will focus on their overall well-being and improvement in living conditions. This new strategy aims to identify the problems in their living condition, housing, food insecurity, unhealthy living conditions, family issues and violence, as well as factors increasing their exposure to chronic diseases. The people involved in this health strategy will be able to receive the benefits in every aspect of their life. From education to healthy living training programs, this health strategy would leave no stone unturned to change their whole live, as envisioned in the statement of NAIHO. The potential health strategy will include educational and training sessions for the ATS people, as these people have very low health literacy, which impacts their access to healthcare services (Ware, 2013). Health literacy is important to perceive and understand health information, thus strategy will also focus on improving their knowledge and understanding towards chronic diseases, mental health issues and different prevention programs.
Participation of Healthcare Professionals in Potential Health Strategy
Participation and dedication of the healthcare professionals in potential health policy is very significant. Healthcare professionals are in the correct place from where they could address various discriminations and prejudices prevailing in the healthcare system (Rix et al, 2015). Thus, I believe my participation will enhance the implication of the potential healthcare strategy and will also enhance my practice and services. For interacting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is essential o have an understanding of their culture, beliefs, values and spirituality (Richardson, & Williams, 2007). Working in this potential health strategy means to learn new concepts f healthcare, working in collaboration and enhancing the skills of team work.
The participation of the healthcare professionals in the potential health policy implies to work with appropriate skills and addressing the barriers among ATSI people and accessing to healthcare services (Ware, 2013). These barriers will be removed to promote trust and good health in this community. The major barriers that arise in offering quality care to these people are cultural differences and lack of cultural awareness. The concept of cultural awareness and cultural competence are very complex. These concepts required to be applied in the potential health strategy to increase the access of ATSI people to healthcare services and to improve their health (Williamson, and Harrison, 2010). Cultural awareness is gaining knowledge and awareness towards the values, beliefs and morals of the other culture. This kind of awareness can be gained by providing cultural awareness training to healthcare professionals. Thus, healthcare strategy will also focus on providing education and training to professionals before working with ATSI people (Chong et al, 2011).
The challenges that may arise while providing culturally safe care to ATSI people are cross-cultural miscommunications and lack of cultural awareness that can occur between Indigenous people and non-indigenous healthcare providers (Chong et al, 2011). Thus, to ensure that healthcare services are culturally safe, professionals would be trained to interact with target group. The health strategy would be able to improve the indigenous health outcomes at population level by offering “accessible, affordable, appropriate and acceptable services” (Scrimgeour & Scrimgeour 2008). The inequalities will be addressed in healthcare access, service provision and evaluating the global healthcare outcomes for the ATSI population. I believe that developing the cultural competence will be the key factor in reducing healthcare inequalities and improving effectiveness and quality of the care provided (Bainbridge et al, 2015).
Role of Potential Health Strategy in Closing the Gap
This health strategy will focus on the long standing social and economic issues prevailing in the Indigenous communities. This strategy will also address the importance of cultural awareness and cultural competence (Barnett & Kendall, 2011). This strategy will lead to working in partnership with the target community to understand their problems more closely. Working in collaboration and providing the best quality services with self-determination will present the effectiveness of the strategy. I believe that new directions for developing the healthcare strategy for the Indigenous population is the need of current time, which can only be addressed by improving and applying culturally safe practice (Barnett & Kendall, 2011).
The essay is based on developing a potential health strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia, because these people face the most inequalities and disparities. These people suffer from many historical and contemporary barriers in accessing healthcare services. The potential healthcare strategy will identify these barriers and will develop a culturally safe and culturally competent healthcare service for these people, which will focus on the complete population and their overall well-being. Cultural competency will focus on enhancing the ability and skills of healthcare professional to provide culturally safe care.
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