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Issues Of Aboriginals And Torres Islanders

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Discuss about the Past And Future Inequalities In The Physical And Mental Health Of Aboriginal And Torres Islanders.



There is numerous effort by the Australian government to improve the health standards of the Aboriginal and Torres Islander, however; the situation is still not to the standards as multiple challenges are centering this bid.  Apparently, there is inequality that exists between the other Australians and Aboriginals due to health disparities that would explicate in this piece of work.  The situation will remain the same if the government does not come up with some useful intervention measures to expedite the whole process of bringing equity in the health sector. Virtually, this work attempts to analyze the epidemiological and demographic details of the Aboriginal and Torres Islanders regarding socioeconomic factors and cultural factors. Primarily, the goal of equity may be realizable through capacity building and improving the healthcare that is located within this ethnic group to meet the standards that are acceptable. Moreover, there is also need for making such health care centers to be accessible by all these members for the Aboriginal and Torres islanders to get an opportunity to visit those centers with ease (Askew, Togni, Schluter, Rogers, Egert, Potter, Hayman, Cass and Brown, 2016).  Therefore, these studies are aimed at evaluating some of the underlying factor resulting to inequalities in health care services among the aforesaid ethnic group and the possible modus operandi that have been laid down given curbing that situation for a promotion of equity in the health care across the board.

These challenges are highlighted below as follows

Unaddressed issues of Aboriginals and Torres Islanders

Apparently, according to Sushames, Uffelen and Gebel (2016) the wrong level of health facilities within the Aboriginal and Torres slanders is the key factor resulting in this inequality that is evident in their case. The government has not invested much of their time in this matter to realize equity evidenced in different occasions that would outline.  Some of the issues that still ought to be addressed are the increasing number of chronic disease among the earlier mentioned group such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and renal failure.  It has been established that most of this group cannot access health care because most of them cannot be able to meet the health care charges which in most cases are very high for this particular ethnic group. Some other behavioral factors have played the significant role in the unhealthy state among the Aboriginal. Some of this behavior is indulging in alcohol taking and the high number of tobacco users within the demography. Similarly, there is increased rates of sexually transmitted infections and the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS within this group (Crowe, Stanley, Probst and McMahon, 2017).  The significant shortcomings of the current situations are evidenced in the government where it has not fully committed itself to the provision of better health services across the board and the one that is accessible by all. 


For several years, there has been systemic discrimination in health care provision and thus has denied the Aboriginals and Torres the opportunity to get better health care as compared to other Australian in the same nation.  There is the significant increase in the population of the youth and this, therefore, means that the state of the health disparity is expected to be tied same due to the growing number of the population and thereby it will be a Herculean task for the government to satisfy the needs of this populous group.

Socioeconomic factors

Kavanagh, Aitken, Emerson, Sahabandu, Milner, Bentley, LaMontagne, Pirkis, and Studdert, (2016) allude that there is one on one correlation between health status and social factors of a particular group within a specified setting.  The inequities in health care provision squarely lie on some of the socio economic factors such as poverty level, living standards, education, empowerment and awareness of rights among that particular group (Loh, Hayden, Vicary, Mancini, Martin, and Piek, 2017). The social stratification within the Aborigines is the primary cause of their condition.  It is important to underscore that most of this group come from lower social class and thereby it becomes challenging to them to access and seek better healthcare. On the same breath, most of them are not covered by the insurance cover and thus making it impossible for them to meet the high cost of hospital bills.  Additionally, due to the low level of education among this group, you find out that it becomes difficult for them to understand the primacy of their health and thus ignore visiting the health centers (Sarnyai, Berger and Jawan, 2016).  Being unable to frequent the health centers usually puts them at high risks of contracting diseases and above all making it difficult for their treatment as one finds the situation has already worsened.  In a nutshell, the Aborigines, only visit the medical facilities when their situation has deteriorated.  The poor state of this group impacts negatively on their health orientation and thereby resulting in this significant disparity in health services that is evident in the community. The incidences of death among this group is very high as compared to other Australians due those factors earlier discussed. For instance, examining the case of cancer patient among the various ethnic group, one finds out that the Aboriginal patient is at the better risk of losing their lives since in most cases their cancer diagnosis reveals the late stage that is stage four. There is little that can be done at this juncture to recuperate their condition. On the contrary, the other Australians they can easily access the health services and thus they usually go for regular screening and checkup (Skerrett, Gibson, Darwin, Lewis, Rallah and De Leo, 2017).  The proper testing puts them in a better position to have earlier detection of their condition for previous interventions to be made. 


According to Kilcullen, Swinbourne, and Cadet?James (2017), the poor state of education among the group described above is commensurate to inadequate health care as these two things go in tandem with each other.  Moreover, the situation is further augmented by the small income this ethnic divide gets from their areas of work and thus are not in the position to visit the health center due to meager salary and wages the Aborigines get as compared to other Australians.  Research about disparity issues among the ethnic group gains impetus due to paucity level among the said group which further results to some constraint that is psychologically disturbing. It is due to this psychological disturbances and demands that most of them experience chronic stress which is another health issue among this particular group (Hall, Chang, Otim, Anderson, Kemp and O'Grady, 2015).  Apart from that more other social injustices that are quickly evident within this setting such as violence, illegal drug taking, indulgence to anti-social behavior such as prostitution which in the long run results in the high level of sexually transmitted diseases among the Aborigines.

Probable solution/ Rationale

Macniven, Elwell, Ride, Bauman, and Richards (2017) asserts that it is the duty of the Australian government to embrace the human rights approach in the view of addressing the socioeconomic disparities that result in the differences in the health care dispensation among a particular ethnic group.  It is ideal for the government to note that every individual in the state is entitled to better health care regardless of their racial divide.  The situation above goes along the way having well-developed medical centers where the Aboriginal and Torres Islanders may access their medical services (Valery, Bernardes, Beesley, Hawkes, Baade and Garvey, 2017). It is the duty of the government to establish hospitals to the region where this ethnic group comes from to have equity in the nation.  Development should not only be based on one particular part of the government. It ought to be equitable across the board and thus considering the plight of the diverse community.  Moreover, the government is obliged to deliver the healthcare services to the whole nation without discrimination of any sort whatsoever.  Having identified some of the challenges that bedevil their system. It is the prerogative of the government to initiate some programs that are aimed at correcting the problem in the bid of assisting the whole nation towards accessing affordable and better health care for all.


Similarly, it is high time for the government of Australian to work in close collaboration with the indigenous people in the view of consolidating their relationship and trying to understand more on their well-being for them to provide some long lasting solution to the health care disparity (Anderson, Lyons, Luke and Reich, 2017). The government ought to apply the Millennium Goal Development to all people irrespective of their original tribe or race to realize their goal to all the individuals in the country. The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has highlighted some of the critical issues that ought to be considered and addressed to solve the issues that center on this ethnic group (Whalen, Moss and Baldwin, 2016). The key indicators according to the report that needs to be addressed are the inadequacies and inequities of the system that fails to meet the issues of all the citizens of the nation including the Aborigines and Torres Islanders. Some legislation has been developed with the intent of ensuring that the citizens of Australia get the required services from their government without being sidelined as evidenced earlier with a specific group in the country. Moreover, there are intervention measures that have been embraced in ensuring that equity is seen all the services render to the citizens of the nation.

The government should strike a balance in addressing issues of non-indigenous and indigenous people in the country without sidelining a particular divide and thus creating an enormous loophole in the system. Additionally, the government should not show that it is biased towards a particular group and for them to get rid of this notion, it will be ideal for them to encourage cooperation and capacity built those youths hailing from those minority groups. It is their duty to provide the favorable environment for everyone (Tolhurst, Lindberg, Calder and de Courten, 2016). 



The work has attempted to highlight some of the socioeconomic issues bedeviling the Aboriginal and Torres Islanders and thus resulting in disparities in the healthcare. It has further enumerated the differences that exist between the non-indigenous and indigenous regarding accessing the healthcare. It is important to underscore that some of the probable solutions have been advanced in the view of aiding the concerned parties to try to reexamine their approaches in the view of integrating other ethnic divides which are not fully incorporated in the bid for better healthcare services. The work has further provided some modus operandi in achieving the MDG such that all the Australians are included in the system of governance by getting better services through enhancing equity across the board. Numerous strategies have been laid by the human rights watch in ensuring that equity in the dispensation of health care is there. The poverty level has been the major issue contributing to this kind of disparity among the Aboriginals. The further research indicates that the government ought to take the leading role in uniting all these diverse communities living in Australia by initiating projects on the equal level. The situation goes along the equity in the distribution of resources; it ought to be done in a fair manner such that everyone benefits from the same. There is a call for a particular quarter that the government is expected to put into consideration that well-being of all the citizens by according them better healthcare and what a view.



Anderson, I., Lyons, J.G., Luke, J.N. and Reich, H.S., 2017. Health Determinants and Educational Outcomes for Indigenous Children. In Indigenous Children Growing Up Strong (pp. 259-285). Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Askew, D.A., Togni, S.J., Schluter, P.J., Rogers, L., Egert, S., Potter, N., Hayman, N.E., Cass, A., and Brown, A.D., 2016. Investigating the feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness of outreach case management in an urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care service: mixed methods exploratory study. BMC health services research, 16(1), p.178.

Carey, T.A., Dudgeon, P., Hammond, S.W., Hirvonen, T., Kyrios, M., Roufeil, L. and Smith, P., 2017. The Australian Psychological Society's Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Australian Psychologist, 52(4), pp.261-267.

Crowe, R., Stanley, R., Probst, Y. and McMahon, A., 2017. Culture and healthy lifestyles: a qualitative exploration of the role of food and physical activity in three urban Australian Indigenous communities. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Hall, K., Chang, A.B., Otim, M., Anderson, J., Kemp, A. and O'Grady, K.A., 2015. General practitioner utilization amongst urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged less than five years.

Kavanagh, A.M., Aitken, Z., Emerson, E., Sahabandu, S., Milner, A., Bentley, R., LaMontagne, A.D., Pirkis, J. and Studdert, D., 2016. Inequalities in socioeconomic characteristics and health and well-being of men with and without disabilities: A cross-sectional analysis of the baseline wave of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Male Health. BMC public health, 16(3), p.1042.

Kilcullen, M., Swinbourne, A., and Cadet?James, Y., 2017. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and well-being: Social, emotional well-being and strengths?based psychology. Clinical Psychologist.

Loh, P.R., Hayden, G., Vicary, D., Mancini, V., Martin, N. and Piek, J.P., 2017. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: an Aboriginal perspective on diagnosis and intervention. Journal of Tropical Psychology, 7.

Macniven, R., Elwell, M., Ride, K., Bauman, A., and Richards, J., 2017. A snapshot of physical activity programs targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. Health Promotion Journal of Australia.

Sarnyai, Z., Berger, M., and Jawan, I., 2016. Allostatic load mediates the impact of stress and trauma on physical and mental health in Indigenous Australians. Australasian Psychiatry, 24(1), pp.72-75.

Skerrett, D.M., Gibson, M., Darwin, L., Lewis, S., Rallah, R. and De Leo, D., 2017. Closing the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Suicide: A Social–Emotional Wellbeing Service Innovation Project. Australian Psychologist.

Sushames, A., Uffelen, J.G., and Gebel, K., 2016. Do physical activity interventions in Indigenous people in Australia and New Zealand improve activity levels and health outcomes? A systematic review. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 13(1), p.129.

Tervonen, H.E., Walton, R., You, H., Baker, D., Roder, D., Currow, D. and Aranda, S., 2017. After accounting for competing causes of death and more advanced stage, do Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with cancer still have worse survival? A population-based cohort study in New South Wales. BMC Cancer, 17(1), p.398.

Tolhurst, P., Lindberg, R., Calder, R. and de Courten, M., 2016. Australia's health tracker 2016: A report card on preventable chronic diseases, conditions, and their risk factors: Tracking progress for a healthier Australia by 2025.

Valery, P.C., Bernardes, C.M., Beesley, V., Hawkes, A.L., Baade, P. and Garvey, G., 2017. Unmet supportive care needs of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with cancer: a prospective, longitudinal study. Supportive Care in Cancer, 25(3), pp.869-877.

Walter, M., 2015. The vexed link between social capital and social mobility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 50(1), pp.69-88.

Whalen, D.H., Moss, M. and Baldwin, D., 2016. Healing through language: Positive physical health effects of indigenous language use. F1000

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