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  1. Critically examine current public health issues and challenges (infectious disease, globalisation, environmental, social justice).
  2. Effectively search relevant public health literature and review and appraise information from a variety of sources to investigate a public health issue.
  3. Structure arguments and communicate complex public health knowledge in a variety of formats.
  4. Understand core principles of just, ethical/legal public health practice and apply to real-life public health scenarios.
  5. Investigate, evaluate and justify current approaches in public health.

Description of the Goal

Also known as the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the 17 goals set by the United Nations General Assembly with the principal aim of protecting the planet, ending poverty and ensuring prosperity for everyone. The goals are comprehensive and interdependent yet each one of them has a distinct list of targets that need to be achieved by 2030 (Barbier and Burgess, 2017). The 17 goals cover life on land and below water, the climate and also the relationships between different countries of the world. They refer to economic development matters such as education, water, sanitation, gender equality, energy, global warming, health, urbanization, hunger, environment, poverty as well as social justice and peace (Stewart, 2015). One of those goals is good health and well-being for people which is goal number 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of this goal is to safeguard healthy lives and enhance the wellbeing of all people at all ages. This report will discuss goal number 3 specifically in Australia. It will cover the current progress of achieving this goal in the country as well as the barriers and challenges to its accomplishment. 

Assuring healthy lives and augmenting the well-being of all entities at all age brackets is vital for sustainable development. Noteworthy strides have been taken to improving health and increasing life expectancy as well as reducing some of the killer diseases related with child and maternaldeath. Major advancement has been made relative to improved accessibility to clean water and sanitation (Hall et al., 2018). Also attempts have been made in lessening of the burden of diseases such as malaria, polio, tuberculosis and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Notwithstanding, a lot more effort is required to tackle different emerging health issues and exterminate a wider range of diseases. There has been establishment of programs, frameworks and organizations in Australia in the attempt to improve the health and wellbeing of all people in the country. Some of these establishments are:

This is an autonomous federal government corporation responsible for scientific research. Its chief obligationis to enhance the social and economic performance of industry for the advantage of the people. It works with other associations around the world such as in the United States, Chile and France and maintains numerous sites in Australia. Their work is in line with the welfare of the Australian people (goal 3 of the SDGs) in that everything they do is for the benefit of the people. The organization deals with big national challenges and partners with the government, universities, industry, communities as well as other corporations to reduce disease and make life better for all Australians.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

CSIRO has developed some devices and come up with ways to enhance people’s lives and decrease the burden of disease, for instance:

A non-invasive and low cost sensor and observation and support system which is used by individuals to aid older people life at home for longer. Developed by CSIROvia the Australian e-Health Research Centre, the devise can sense changes in the physical environment and movement inside and outside one’s house to collect health-related information and transmit the data to a remote server which allows for observation by health care providers (Hanse et al., 2011). Additionally, it assists in solving the problem of social exclusion by linking to video-conferencing systems which enables the older people to commune with families and friends. Social inclusion has been associated with better health, happier lives and greater healing capacity (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015).

Software tools to forecast demand and help enhance access to emergency care thus reducing hospital waiting times. The hospital emergency wards in Australia are increasingly overcrowded and may not be able to accommodate the daily arrivals in a well-timedmanner thus the necessity for these software tools which helps hospitals run more smoothly.

This is an evidence based policy framework which guides programs, policies and strategies developed to promote the health of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These Australia’s first peoples face several hardships which immensely affects their health and diminishes the richness of their wellbeing. The indigenous Australians have poorer health as compared to other Australians due to these adversities. Most of them suffer from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which are chronic conditions which develop graduallyand last for elongated periods. They include heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, autoimmune diseases and genetic disorders (Vos et al., 2009). More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also have issues with alcoholism, smoking and high blood cholesterol as compared to non-indigenous Australians.

This health plan was developed through a vigorous partnership between the government, and the peak bodies and organizations of the Aboriginal and Strait Islanders (Kimpton, 2013). It was a part of the efforts of closing the gap between the health and life expectancy of the indigenous Australians and other Australians in the decade between 2013 and 2023. This framework ensures the accountability, partnership and engagement of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in solving the health problems that face them (ISLANDER, 2013). The vision of the plan is to achieve a health system that is free of racism and inequality and in which all indigenous Australian can access appropriate, effective, affordable and quality health care.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan

The implementation plan of this policy divides the actions to be taken into various domains which clearly states the objectives to be accomplished. These objectives include reducing discrimination and racism and the percentage of indigenous Australians youths who smoke. In addition, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health plan describes the need for addressing the social determinants of health among the indigenous Australians (Marmot et al., 2008). This is a very important aspect owing to the fact that the causes of poor health among this group of people are mostly social factors such as education, income and housing conditions. By improving the healthiness of these people and closing the gap between their life expectancy and health and that of non-indigenous folks, Australia is working towards achievement of the third goal of the Sustainable Development Goals; good health and wellbeing for people. 

In Australia, chronic conditions are a leading cause of disability, illnesses and even death (AIHW, 2014). Other countries in the world also face a challenge in dealing with chronic conditions which led to the development of a Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-2020 by World Health Organization (WHO). As a member state of the WHO, Australia has a universal obligation to address chronic conditions in line with the above-mentioned action plan. The National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions was established to not only support Australia’s international commitment but also to provide national control for a multisectoral reaction in prevention as well as the management of non-communicable diseases.

An effort to prevent chronic diseases can wane their volume and severity and lead to better health outcomes at reduced costs. Coming up with approachesto manage these diseases is equally essential as it minimizes the probability of occurrence of complications and associated disabilities. By reducing the impacts and the severity of chronic conditions, there is improved quality of life for all Australians. It also takes the country one step closer to building an economically feasible and sustainablehealth system that supports equality (Wutzke et al., 2017).

The framework offers guidance for the establishment and implementation of policies, strategies, programs, services and actions by other entities towards addressing chronic conditions and improving people’s health outcomes. The framework is predominantly health focused but takes into account the importance of partnering up with other sectors such as the education sector, employment, housing and environment to attain its goal.

The National Strategic Framework for Chronic Conditions

This program outlines the national response to diabetes and apprises how the limited resources available can be coordinated and better targeted to manage the disease across all government levels. It brings to lightthe most effective and appropriate tactics to minimize the impacts of diabetes in the community. It calls for coordinated efforts by governments, health care professionals, carers, families, organizations, non-governmental associations and also people ailing from diabetes to reduce the incidence of, indisposition and mortality from the disease or its accompanying complications. This framework thus helps in preventing and managing one of the leading chronic conditions affecting people in Australia which is a very useful way in enhancing the people’s health, wellness and wellbeing (Johnson, Martin and Timoshanko, 2015).

Most chronic conditions are a result of unhealthy behavior by the affected over a long period of time. Lack of a balanced diet and adequate physical exercise impacts an individual’s health even if these insufficiencies were experienced during early childhood development. Although certain chronic diseases such as diabetes type 2 are a result of an individual’s environmental conditions and gene makeup, others results from unhealthy lifestyles and risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, smoking, too much alcohol, exposure to injurious ultra violet (UV) rays of the sun and lack of essential vaccinations.Creating awareness on avoidance of disease causing behaviors and the importance of living healthy lives is important but people cannot be made to follow the teachings and advice they receive. Living a healthy lifestyle takes strength, determination and sacrifice, for instance of the more sweet foods that a person would rather eat. Some people therefore choose to live the kind of life they want, not the one that is recommended (Barer, 2017). This affects them later on in life whereby they suffer from various chronic conditions. It is thus a challenge and a deterrence to improving the health and wellbeing of the people. 

For good health to be prevalent among a people, quality health care must be available. However, some barriers such as language difference, diverse ways of life and dissimilar beliefs in medicine and medical practices can greatly impact health care provision. For example, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people uphold their cultures, languages, values and practices which directly affects the health care staff working with them. This in turn affects the quality of health care they receive which may lead to negative health outcomes and affect their quality of life (Li, 2017). Social aspects such as income, availability of infrastructure and the cost of health care also have an impact on the quality of health services provided. If the people cannot afford to pay for excellent health care services in distinguished and advanced heath care institutions, it is impossible for them to obtain the appropriate care which further adversely affects their health and wellbeing (McFarlane et al., 2016).

Not many doctors and other health professionals are willing to work for long hours as they try to balance their work and family lives. Women health professionals, particularly, find it hard to balance the two since they have a lot of responsibilities on both sectors. Their family lives therefore affect their educational aspiration, work and even their social lives. They have to make a decision on where to live and work conveniently and without too much trouble. Most of them thus end up living in metropolitan regions where their work stations are not too far from home. This leaves the rural areas with inadequate personnel which vastly affects their health (Strasser and Neusy, 2010). 

Conclusion

In summary, it is evident from the report that Australia is making huge steps in an attempt to realize the third goal of Sustainable Development Goals, good health and wellbeing for all at all ages. There is a coordinated effort among all levels of governments, organizations, individuals and also non-governmental corporations to come up with policies, strategies as well as programs to promote health and wellbeing of all Australians. Various frameworks have already been developed to enhance achievement of this course, such as The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan, the National Strategic Framework for chronic conditions and the Australian National Diabetes Strategy. However, there efforts are undermined by factors such as the culture which affects the quality of health care provided as well as the unhealthy lifestyles of people which increases their likelihood of suffering from chronic illnesses later in life. 

References

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2014. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW.

Li, J.L., 2017. Cultural barriers lead to inequitable healthcare access for aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders. Chinese Nursing Research, 4(4), pp.207-210.

Barer, M., 2017. Why are some people healthy and others not?. Routledge.

Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D., 2015. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for mortality: a meta-analytic review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 227-237.

Marmot, M., Friel, S., Bell, R., Houweling, T. A., Taylor, S., & Commission on Social Determinants of Health, 2008. Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through action on the social determinants of health. The lancet, 372(9650), 1661-1669.

ISLANDER, T.S., 2013. Based publications.

Vos, T., Barker, B., Begg, S., Stanley, L. and Lopez, A.D., 2009. Burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: the Indigenous health gap. International journal of epidemiology, 38(2), pp.470-477.

Kimpton, T.M., 2013. Partnership and leadership: key to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The Medical Journal of Australia, 199(1), pp.11-12.

Stewart, F., 2015. The sustainable development goals: A comment. Journal of Global Ethics, 11(3), pp.288-293.

Johnson, G., Martin, J.E. and Timoshanko, A., 2015. Preventing type 2 diabetes: scaling up to create a prevention system. The Medical journal of Australia, 202(1), pp.24-26.

Wutzke, S., Morrice, E., Benton, M. and Wilson, A., 2017. What will it take to improve prevention of chronic diseases in Australia? A case study of two national approaches. Australian Health Review, 41(2), pp.176-181.

Strasser, R. and Neusy, A.J., 2010. Context counts: training health workers in and for rural and remote areas. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 88, pp.777-782.

Hanse, D.P., Gurney, P., Morgan, G. and Barraclough, B., 2011. The Australian e-Health Research Centre: enabling the health care information and communication technology revolution. Medical Journal of Australia, 194(4), p.S5.

Barbier, E.B. and Burgess, J.C., 2017. The Sustainable Development Goals and the systems approach to sustainability. Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 11(2017-28), pp.1-23.

Hall, N.L., Ross, H., Richards, R., Barrington, D.J., Dean, A.J., Head, B.W., Jagals, P., Reid, S. and Hill, P.S., 2018. Implementing the United Nations’ sustainable development goals for water and beyond in Australia: A proposed systems approach. Australasian Journal of Water Resources, pp.1-10.

McFarlane, K., Judd, J., Devine, S. and Watt, K., 2016. Reorientation of health services: enablers and barriers faced by organisations when increasing health promotion capacity. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 27(2), pp.118-133.

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