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1. Discusses health policies that apply to the topic.

2.Apply principles of health promotion, primary health care and advocacy relevant to this issue.    

3.Apply the principles of equity, self-determination, rights and access applicable to this health issue as relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Health policies that apply to the topic

The procedure of ‘Childhood Immunization’ is of utmost importance for the enhancement of a child’s immune system, to aid in the prevention and of fatal diseases (Berhane 2016).

The following report outlines the scenario of childhood immunization in Australia, including health policies, promotion and advocacy, along with an evaluation on the equity achieved by current immunization policies.

Australia is home to numerous immunization strategies, aiming to inculcate awareness regarding the importance of childhood vaccination, and formulating programs, policies and advocacy measures for the same (Fraser et al. 2016).

The Department of Health of the Australian Government has formulated the ‘National Immunization Program’ (NIP). This government-oriented program has achieved high rates of success, by ensuring the provision of vaccines in every district. This program circulates at the state, district as well as the territory and Commonwealth platform, to reduce or prevent the affliction of harmful diseases, which are preventable via adequate vaccination. It is a nationally, as well as internationally acclaimed initiative, which strives in the provision, of the availability of vaccines of over 17 fatal diseases, free of cost (Lawrence et al. 2016). The National Immunization Program of the Australian Government, by the Department of Health, also aims to provide extensive information to concerned families, regarding the requirement of vaccination in childhood, the negative medical repercussions concerning the same, as well provision of a required vaccination schedule (Nhmrc.gov.au 2018).

The development of the National Immunization Program of Australia, is also supported by the conductance of extensive research, which is actively performed by the National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance. This surveillance body provides aid in the formulation of policies for childhood immunization, by coordinating its activities with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (Dey et al. 2016). The National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance and the Australian Technical Advisory Group, work in unison through conductance of epidemiological research and analysis, resulting in provision of adequate scientific information for improvement and enhancement of the national Immunization Program of Australia (Ncirs.edu.au 2018).


The Public Health Association of Australia has an actively functioning Immunization Policy. The policy aims at advocating communities, groups and regions, where the availability of immunization programs is relatively less, to encourage the Government of Australia in its efforts to provide adequate vaccination programs for all. The Immunization Policy also strives in establishing coordination, cooperation, communication between the various district and state level bodies, in order to assist in ensuring the availability of adequate childhood immunization programs, all over the country (Attwell et al. 2017).

Principles of health promotion, primary health care and advocacy

However, a number of children in Australia, continue to be deprived of adequate immunization procedures. To prevent this discrepancy and the resultant future medical complications, the Australian Government has formulated a ‘No Jab, No Pay’, policy, to encourage parents to vaccinate their children. Under the governance of this policy, children who have not received immunization, will be denied admission and enrollment in schools and centers concerning child care. Across the southern region of Australia, families consisting of children who have been deprived of vaccination, are denied permission to avail governmental benefits (Yang and Studdert 2017).

Hence, it is evident that the Health Department of the Government of Australia, has undertaken active child immunization procedures, in order to prevent the outbreak of fatally harmful diseases.

Health Promotion

Immunize Australia’ is an actively functioning health promotion plan, formulated by the National Immunization Program of the Department of Health, Government of Australia. The program aims to impart adequate knowledge and information regarding the importance of undertaking vaccination in children, and the list of diseases required for the concerned child to be immunized against. The website of the concerned program also ensures the availability of an immunization handbook. The handbook imparts necessary information regarding a vaccination time schedule which parents are required to adhere to, in order to ensure safe and timely immunization of their concerned children (Wang et al. 2017).

Primary Health care

The Department of Health, by the Government of Australia, undertakes active participation in ensuring adequate childhood immunization schedules, through its National Immunization Policy, as well as Immunize Australia program. Under these policy frameworks, the national government ensures vaccination of Australians, free of cost, across a number districts, communities, childcare and health centers and well as across states (Immunise.health.gov.au 2018). The government’s free immunization programs aims to provide vaccinations for a number of deadly, yet preventable diseases such as diphtheria, influenza, measles, human papillomavirus, chicken pox, hepatitis A and B, mumps, meningococcal, polio, rubella, rotavirus, herpes, tetanus, pneumococcal and whooping cough. Before the commencement of the vaccination procedure, the participants have to undergo an eligibility criteria, which includes children under 18 months of age, pregnant women or individuals who have not received vaccination or have been in contact with an individual afflicted with the concerned disease (Nowak et al. 2015).

Advocacy

For the purpose of ensuring the availability of adequate vaccination and child immunization policies across the nation, a number of groups and organizations are present in Australia, for the purpose of advocacy. One of the most notes groups, formulated for the purpose of advocacy is the Public Health Association of Australia. With its ‘Immunization Policy’, the Public Health Association of Australia, is responsible for establishing coordination and cooperation, amongst national, state as well as district oriented organizations, for the purpose of provision of childhood immunization procedures throughout Australia. The program also aims to advocate for individuals, communities or regions, who have been deprived of vaccination programs (Attwell et al. 2017).

Principles of equity, self-determination, rights and access applicable to this health issue

The Australian Medical Students Association, aims to provide advocacy, by provision of its support to the State as well as the Australian Commonwealth Government, in its efforts to ensure vaccination availability to every family of the country (Jeffery 2015).

The Immunization Coalition, is a governmental organization, without governmental association, which aims to promote the importance of vaccination and immunization by imparting education to the general public. The organization also aims to provide assistance to institutes concerned with the conductance of vaccination schedules, to further enhance advocacy and execution of the same (Khoury 2017).

In accordance to an assessment performed by the National Centre for Immunization Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable diseases, the coverage of immunization in Australia has been highly successful, with a larger population of Australian children receiving adequate vaccination procedures by the National Immunization Program of the Government of Australia. However, the report also highlighted a lack of immunization services in regions inhabited by the indigenous aborigines of the country. Hence, there is a need for the development of an all-inclusive childhood immunization plan by the government, in enhancing the availability of free vaccination programs in the distant and remote regions of Australia (Pearce et al. 2015).

The policy of self-determination in Australia, refers to the provision of liberty to a collective group of individuals, for the implementation and exercising of their own rights and decisions, with regards to their community. The right of self-determination, is a policy requested by the aboriginal communities of Australia, who want adequate recognition and representation by governmental bodies, in order to acknowledge their distinct cultural and heritage practices (Peterson and Myers 2016). With respect to childhood immunization, the government of Australia can attempt to establish clear communication, as well as culture specific legislation strategies, in order to provide adequate vaccination to aboriginal families, without harming their independence in the process (Wighton and Smith 2018).

With regards to ensuring of childhood immunization, it is to be noted, that in Australia, there is no legal compulsion necessitating the need to vaccinate or immunize one’s child. Hence, individuals are not supposed to be subject to discrepancy or discrimination, if they have been devoid of vaccination in their lifetime. However, with the advent of the ‘No Jab, No pay’ legal framework, the establishment of stringent regulations in Australia has caused considerable uproar amongst the public (Yang and Studdert 2017). With respect to this amendment, individuals who have not undertaken the governmental recommended immunization schedule, will be subject to denial of access to basic education, primary health care and governmental service. Hence, despite the government’s success in maintenance of high child immunization rates, the concerned legal amendment has proven to be controversial, since a major section of the child population of Australia are now under threat of education deprivation (Fielding, Bolam and Danchin 2017).

The aboriginal community residing in Australia, are often subject to discrimination and deprivation of basic health and social welfare services, with respect to their remote inhabitations and preference for isolation. The Immunize Australia program, by the Australian Department of Health in the government, aims to deliver adequate and timely vaccination services across the state, in order to ensure immunization for all children (Ncirs.edu.au, 2018). However, as highlighted by statistical data, there seems to be considerable gaps in service delivery, since a number of aboriginal families continue to be devoid of vaccination. Hence, there is need for additional capital provision an effort by the government, in order to extend its immunization network to the remote, aboriginal regions of Australia (O’Grady et al. 2018).

Conclusion

Hence, in conclusion, it can be stated that Australia provides an impressive array of legal frameworks for ensuring nationwide childhood immunization. However, the deprivation of aboriginal communities implies the requirement of further governmental efforts to provide vaccination services to all, without damaging ethnic or cultural sentiments.

References

Attwell, K., Leask, J., Meyer, S.B., Rokkas, P. and Ward, P., 2017. Vaccine rejecting parents’ engagement with expert systems that inform vaccination programs. Journal of bioethical inquiry, 14(1), pp.65-76.

Berhane, Y., 2016. Universal Childhood Immunization: a realistic yet not achieved goal. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development (EJHD), 22(2).

Dey, A., Knox, S., Wang, H., Beard, F.H. and McIntyre, P.B., 2016. Summary of national surveillance data on vaccine preventable diseases in Australia, 2008-2011. Communicable diseases intelligence quarterly report, 40, pp.S1-70.

Fielding, J.E., Bolam, B. and Danchin, M.H., 2017. Immunisation coverage and socioeconomic status–questioning inequity in the ‘No Jab, No Pay’policy. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 41(5), pp.455-457.

Fraser, A., Williams, S., Kong, S., Wells, L., Goodall, L., Pit, S., ... & Trent, M. (2016). Public Health Amendment (Vaccination of Children Attending Child Care Facilities) Act 2013: its impact in the Northern Rivers, NSW. Public Health Research and Practice, 26(2).

Immunise.health.gov.au. 2018. Immunise - The National Immunisation Program. [online] Available: https://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/content/home [Accessed 13 Sep. 2018].

Jeffery, R.H., 2015. Vaccination and the law. Australian family physician, 44(11), p.849.

Khoury, G., 2017. Day of Immunology in Australia and New Zealand. European Journal of Immunology, 47(8), pp.1253-1255.

Lawrence, G.L., Wang, H., Lahra, M., Booy, R. and McIntyre, P.B., 2016. Meningococcal disease epidemiology in Australia 10 years after implementation of a national conjugate meningococcal C immunization programme. Epidemiology & Infection, 144(11), pp.2382-2391.

Ncirs.edu.au. 2018. National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) » NCIRS. [online] Available at: https://www.ncirs.edu.au/ [Accessed 13 Sep. 2018].

Nhmrc.gov.au. 2018. National Immunisation Strategy | National Health and Medical Research Council. [online] Available at: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/cd7 [Accessed 13 Sep. 2018].

Nowak, G.J., Gellin, B.G., MacDonald, N.E. and Butler, R., 2015. Addressing vaccine hesitancy: the potential value of commercial and social marketing principles and practices. Vaccine, 33(34), pp.4204-4211.

O'Grady, K.A.F., Hall, K.K., Bell, A., Chang, A.B. and Potter, C., 2018. Review of respiratory disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin, 18(2).

Pearce, A., Marshall, H., Bedford, H. and Lynch, J., 2015. Barriers to childhood immunisation: Findings from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Vaccine, 33(29), pp.3377-3383.

Peterson, N. and Myers, F., 2016. Experiments in self-determination: Histories of the outstation movement in Australia. ANU Press.

Wang, B., Chen, G., Ratcliffe, J., Afzali, H.H.A., Giles, L. and Marshall, H., 2017. Adolescent values for immunisation programs in Australia: A discrete choice experiment. PloS one, 12(7), p.e0181073.

Wighton, A. and Smith, D., 2018. Common Roots, Common Futures: Indigenous Pathways to Self-Determination.

Yang, Y.T. and Studdert, D.M., 2017. Linking immunization status and eligibility for welfare and benefits payments: The Australian “No Jab, No Pay” Legislation. Jama, 317(8), pp.803-804.

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