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Diabetes Among Indigenous People In Australia

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Discuss about the Diabetes among Indigenous People.



In every society, chronic illnesses are inevitable; these illnesses affect the social and cultural norms in the specific society and leads to stigmatization.

Stigma is one of the aspects that used by the society to define people based on illnesses and disabilities and devalues them on those grounds (Ciechanowski, 2014). Stigmatization can occur at different levels according to,

  1. If the society labels on as less desirable tainted or handicapped.
  2. Whether the stigma associated with illness is due to the responsibility of the person and whether it leads to disability, disfigurement or lack of control or disruption of social interactions
  3. Whether the stigma is associated with controllable or non-consolable illness factors, stigmas associated with controllable illness factors, attract much negative treatment than that which has uncontrollable factors.
  4. Whether the stigma is hampering the accessibility of healthcare receiving diagnosis, and accessing treatment
  5. Whether the stigmatization is coming from family members, health professionals the society or friends

Another common ground on which stigma is based on is gender in that the culture of a specific society has dictated how each gender is supposed to behave as well as their roles. The female gender is likely to stigmatized more compared to the male gender in most societies depending on the culture (Dart, 2008).

Peer-peer referees to the decentralization of communication in which each party can initiate the communication and has similar capabilities. In health matters peer to peer has been defined as the act of patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, connecting with other equal ill patients through a network, online or any other means to share their experiences and help each other (Robinson, 2010).


The comparison between Diabetes Australia and “How’s your sugar?” websites


The two websites are addressing the issue of diabetes as well as the various types of diabetes. The two sites offer credible information that has been accredited by medical professionals. Both sites contain information relating to the Australian population. The two sites provide ways in which to improve one’s health as well as the various lifestyle adjustments one should make to avoid the diabetes illness (Newman, 2009).

The differences in the sites

The How’s your sugar uses the help of animations to deliver its content while Diabetes Australia passes its message through written word. Moreover, ‘How’s your sugar’ website has included video confessions of patients who have diabetes. The Diabetes Australia website does not use videos. In my experience, Diabetes Australia website seems much simpler to navigate and use for a non-specialist while ‘How’s your sugar’ web site is a bit sophisticated and may be a challenge for a new visitor. Despite the sophistication how your sugar is quite interactive and engages the user by directing the actions on the site while Diabetes Australia is a just plain word and no interaction (Ratzan, 2013). How's your sugar web site is a holistic site that has dedicated adequate effort to polish the way visitors interact with the website using techniques such as games animations and videos. On the other hand Diabetes, Australia has used photos and written information to pass the message (Riedman, 2014).

Narrative model versus the western biomedical model of health

The narrative model

The narrative model clinicians from various therapeutic schools are now shifting from the search for the cure or a normative explanation of someone’s illness to the search for an appropriate new story for the patient. The shift has originated from the modern and postmodern intellectual movements that include cybernetics and structuralism. For instance, Anderson argues that there is a need to shift from pragmatic models that examine the patients experience against some predetermined view of normalcy. He proposes an approach that acknowledges the patient as an expert, and which can facilitate any possible account of reality, provided it make sense it looks sensible to the client. The model, therefore, argues that the conversation between a clinician and the patient can no longer be regarded as a way of seeking out hidden truths, infect it is a means of creating previously unformulated truth (Robinson, 2010).


The narrative approach has been separated into three parts that can prompt for a narrative, they include,

  1. Narrative for the obvious duty of obtaining traditional medical history
  2. The narrative in counseling, where one needs to be listened to while giving their history to allow coherence of the information.
  3. Narrative as a therapeutic tool that involves enquiring from the patient in a way that may make a difference to the client

The biomedical model

The biomedical model has been one of the oldest models in the medical history. The model argues that a healthy state is that which is free from disease, pain, or any other defect. The model fails to consider other factors like the environment, psychological and social influence and focuses purely on the biological factors that lead to a particular illness. Regardless of the model orientation, it is regarded as the leading modern way of diagnosing and treating conditions in the healthcare profession (Sheen, 2013).


The models are put across to try to identify the most appropriate way of approaching and defining illnesses. The two models are focused on delivering the most appropriate diagnosis and treatment. They engage the medical practitioner and the patient. However, the two models differ in approaches, while the narrative model relies on stories to explain a certain illness or condition; the biomedical model focuses on establishing the biological cause of illness. In addition, the narrative model believes that the patient is also a professional and understands how his/her body operates and can be able to determine the cause of illness and tell the clinician. On the other hand, the biomedical model assumes that illness is due to a defective part of the body and that part needs to be fixed just like the way machines are fixed, it does not consider the emotional part. While the narrative model is broad based and considers several factors that the patient may be experiencing due to the illness, the biomedical model is limited to only biological factors and sets aside the psychological and environmental factors. Finally, the biomedical model has been applied for many years to diagnose and treat conditions thus it is more reliable as opposed to the narrative model that has been initiated recently and still has a lot of loopholes thus questioning its credibility (Stewart, 2013).

The importance of information sharing to the aboriginal people

The Aboriginal people give the medical practitioners a hard time while delivering their services. The reason behind this challenge is the cultural beliefs of these people particularly concerning health. Moreover, the western culture appears to magnify the challenges in offering the medical services in the cross-cultural health service delivery. The aboriginal people have to manage to salvage their cultural beliefs besides the colonial suppression. The aborigines believe that people are interconnected with many aspects of their life such as obligations, kinship, land, and religion. These people have a sociomedical system that explains the health believes and emphasizes on the spiritual and social dysfunction that lead to illness.  The belief also takes an individual's wellbeing as a contingent reason for failure to execute duties accordingly, the belief in the society's view duties and obligations take precedence over one's personal health. This poses a challenge since the sick individuals fail to seek medical attention in time to minimize the illness and wait until the illness is at a critical stage (Watson, & Gallois, 2013).

The aborigines have classified the causes the causes of illness into various categories such as natural, environmental, emergent or Western cause, indirect and direct supernatural. The other classification involves the categorization of individual’s state of health. The categories are,

  1. The weak– due to a headache or a toothache, this considered as a minor illness that requires rest and a specific treatment
  2. The wounded- mostly wounded while discharging duties, the wounds include, cuts and bruised
  3. The sick- these individuals might be sick due to supernatural or spiritual influence, which cannot resolve without assistance.
  4. The strong- these individuals can handle daily tasks effectively without any mental or physical difficulties, they are regarded as normal.

A keen examination of these two classifications believes the supernatural intervention as the cause of any serious illness. Furthermore, the causation believes divides the causes into two, that is the ultimate cause because of breaching a taboo and motor vehicle accident, which said to be a proximate cause. For instance, in the aborigine’s society, it is a taboo for a female doctor or nurse to wash an elderly initiated male or teach an Aboriginal male self-catheterization, on the other hand, a male doctor may breach the taboo when he undertakes a virginal inspection. Moreover, the aborigines believe in sorcery and supernatural interventions, and they usually explain illness causes regarding supernatural interventions. Deaths of the old age or chronically ill are considered rational and normal while those of infants or the young age are considered to influence by supernatural forces (Zinn, 2012).


Understanding these classifications and believes, the medical practitioners can tailor the information as well as the information sharing platform to deliver the message to the aborigines better.

The comparison sof the recommended resource

The two resources have been tailored to address the issue of diabetes for diabetic patients. They also consider the various types that the diabetic patient might be having.Also, the two websites are directing patients to the same helpline. However, the how’s your sugar website seems more superior and interactive compared to diabetic Australia. The website is more interactive and seems to be tailored specifically for those patients with diabetes (Robinson, 2010). On the other hand, the diabetic Australia website provides the general information relating to diabetes and does not specifically target any party or group i.e. the patients or the medical practitioners (Watson, & Gallois, 2013). The use of video and sound confessions, as well as written word on the how is your sugar website, ensures that all the disabled groups have been considered. The technique is helpful, in that, those who cannot hear will read the confession those who cannot see will hear the audio and to some extent, one can read the lips of those giving confessions.

The Diabetes Australia may fail to be interactive, but it offers more information regarding diabetes, as it has included the information on the diabetes statistics in Australia as well as globally. Moreover, it contains explains the various myths that are perceived by the society regarding diabetes. On the other hand, how's your sugar contains no statistical data nor comparisons? It provides a platform where one can obtain information while at the same interacting with the platform to keep his/her condition in check, for instance, the site provide one with an option to create an appointment reminder (Watson, & Gallois, 2013).



Chronic diseases have become prevalent in the modern age due to the changes in lifestyle as well as eating habits and foods. One of the chronic diseases that are affecting the majority in Australia and the rest of the world is diabetes. For this reason, information sharing has been one of the fundamental tools in ensuring that chronic diseases are maintained under control. The internet has been a significant enabler in the sharing of information through peer-to-peer information sharing. Studies have recently found that individuals suffering from similar kind of chronic illnesses are now exchanging information through the internet on how they manage their conditions. This has saved many individuals as well as created a platform full of rich and helpful information. How your sugar is is one of the platforms tailored for patients with diabetes to interact and share their information? Moreover, the medical practitioners have not been left behind in combating the chronic diseases as they have joined the war by setting up websites that provide information pertaining diabetes. However, this website may not be as interactive as the previous one they are endowed with medical knowledge as well as the general and in-depth view of the condition.

The establishment of these websites has made some considerable efforts in enlightening the majority both in worldwide and in Australia, especially the aborigines who seem to stay loyal to their health culture. In conclusion, communication is the main tool that will help manage the chronic illnesses not only diabetes but also other illnesses.



Ciechanowski, P. (2014). Health Inequities and Social Determinants: Diabetes Prevalence Among Canadian Aboriginals. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Dart, J. (2008). Australia’s disturbing health disparities set Aboriginals apart. Bulletin Of The World Health Organization, 86(4), 245-247.

Diabetes globally. (2017). Retrieved 3 April 2017, from

Dutta-Bergman, M. (2015). Theory and Practice in Health Communication Campaigns: A Critical Interrogation. Health Communication, 18(2), 103-122.

Ghosh, S., Collier, A., & Krentz, A. (2012). Diabetes (1st ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingston/Elsevier.

How's Your Sugar. (2017). Retrieved 3 April 2017, from

Newman, B. (2009). Education of Australian Aboriginals as Community Health Care Workers. The Journal Of The Royal Society For The Promotion Of Health, 107(5), 178-180.

Newman, B. (2013). Nurses.. Bridging The Gap: Australian Aboriginals and Primary Health Care. The Journal Of The Royal Society For The Promotion Of Health, 113(2), 87-90.

Ratzan, S. (2013). Evidence, Peer Review, and Medical Progress: An HIV Cure. Journal Of Health Communication, 18(6), 625-626.

Riedman, S. (2014). Diabetes (1st ed.). New York: Watts.

Robinson, J. (2010). Book reviews of Communication With Medical Patients; Communication and Health: Systems and Applications. Health Communication, 2(3), 195-197.

Sheen, B. (2013). Diabetes (1st ed.). Farmington Hills, Mich.: Lucent Books.

Stewart, G. (2013). Diabetes (1st ed.). San Diego, Calif.: Kidhaven Press.

Typ-2-Diabetes - Diabetes in Balance. (2009). Diabetes Aktuell, 7(07), 336-337.

Watson, B., & Gallois, C. (2013). Nurturing Communication by Health Professionals Toward Patients: A Communication Accommodation Theory Approach. Health Communication, 10(4), 343-355.

Zinn, C. (2012). Health gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals widening. BMJ, 314(7088), i-i.


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