ABOR3440 Indigenous Health Around The World

ABOR3440 Indigenous Health Around The World

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ABOR3440 Indigenous Health Around The World

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ABOR3440 Indigenous Health Around The World

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Course Code: ABOR3440
University: The University Of Newcastle

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Country: Australia


“There is an indisputable relationship between the enduring impact of colonisation and current health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people” (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2016).
Historical and contemporary factors,
The role of race and racism, and
Indigenous Australian perspectives on health and wellbeing
Essay requirements

This assignment is to be completed in essay format. Include an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.
Develop an overall position and ensure each paragraph contains a specific point that is demonstrated and supported in the paragraph.

This assessment task allows students to develop their professional writing and communication skills, focusing on writing and supporting arguments in a professional manner. This task provides an opportunity for students to evaluate sources of information, synthesise ideas gained from academic texts and incorporate reference material in an appropriate manner.
Be able to demonstrate an understanding of historical and contemporary factors contributing to Indigenous health status
Be able to demonstrate an understanding of Indigenous Australian perspectives on health and well-being
Be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the role of race and racism in health care provision
Be able to demonstrate skills in professional communication


Australia since from its establishment in the year of 1901 has seen a large immigration of the Indigenous people (Hampton, Ronald, & Maree, 2013, pp. 51). The indigenous people residing in Australia received biased attitude from the Australian original. For example, the Torres Strait Islander males were brutally provoked to act as the first line of defence during the Second World War but despite their heroic efforts they were not allowed to hold any responsible position in the defence team (Hampton, Ronald, & Maree, 2013, pp. 53). Moreover, post second world war, “White Australian Policy” restricted the entry of the people beyond Anglo-Saxon ideals (Hampton, Ronald, & Maree, 2013, pp. 53). Such political discrimination got cumulated with the culture and the socio-economic background and the overall effect cast a huge negative impact on the health care domain too. The socio-economic statistics post Second World War further showed that aboriginal Australians have highest rate of mortality, arrest, unemployment and poor infrastructure. In the field of healthcare, there is a wide gap in healthcare outcomes between the indigenous and non-indigenous Australians where the later are advantaged than the earlier (Hampton, Ronald, & Maree, 2013, pp. 53). Over years, the Australian government has embarked on addressing this issue to ensure equality in healthcare. The following essay will outline the various historical, contemporary, race and racism-related factors, which influence the health and well-being of the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islanders of Australia. It also highlights how the indigenous perspectives on health cast a negative impact on the well-being of the indigenous people.
Historical factors have contributed heavily on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s health and well-being. In the Goulburn-Murray region situated in the northern Victoria region of Australia, indigenous people due to complex historical and social problems are always at an increased risk of health problems. They have a very high rate of occurrence of diabetes, cardiovascular and metabolic disease (Reilly et al., 2011, pp. 1 of 9). Since, 1788, Anglo–Saxon Australians dominated the Political power. Such one sided political dominance affected the employment status among the indigenous people and created a financial barrier, generating a health gap (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 50). As per the historical records, Aborigines women were continuously subjected to restrictive or repressive legislation and on contrary, Australians who belong to non-British heritage got elected in several sectors of government (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 50). Four young Aboriginal men protested (1994) against this discrimination on the lawn outside Parliament House in Canberra (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 56). The Aboriginal Land Rights Act, legislated in1983 and amended in 2001, gave the NSW and local Aboriginal land councils the rights to claims the vacant lands, which are held under the Crown Lands Act 1989 (NSW) (Cassidy, 2017, pp. 23). Since these people are deprived from their job, land bears a spiritual significance to these communities. Since these people are deprived from their job, land bears a spiritual significance to these communities. The land here defines the mental health, physical health, cultural health and spiritual health and these different sectors of health cumulated into well-being (Taylor & Guerin, 2010, pp. 90).The capturing of land contributed to distress in social well-being and affect the mental health. Health is a complex variable that depends on physical, mental and social well-being (Taylor & Guerin, 2010, pp. 89). This distress further ignited when colonialists forcibly separated indigenous children from their parents as “stolen generations” (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 42). The distress leads to the generation of anxiety and mental health problems among the family members. This increased the trend of drug and alcohol consumption and this behaviour became their persistent characteristic among the indigenous people (Sajiv, 2013). The “stolen generations” or the stolen children experienced emotional and/or behavioural problems as they were deprived from parents love and care. They also became hyperactive due to the abuse they received from their drug addict and drunken parents (Sajiv, 2013). The upcoming generation, upon hearing the history and reviewing these series of brutal events, suffered from negative psychological impacts.  This psychological distress still impedes and cast a significant effect on the mainstream heath and behaviour (Sajiv, 2013).
The NSW Government, during the tenure of 1880s to 1960s, adopted special regime of ‘protection’ for Aboriginal people. In this regime, the Aboriginal people lost their right of freedom, as the government became the sole dictator to control their livelihood, personal finances along with child-rearing practices. This again led to the downfall of the health and mental peace of the aboriginal people (Cassidy, 2017, pp.27). It was only until 1967 that they enfranchised as citizens but persistent racism has seen indigenous people who were adamant to agree to the conventional concept of health and well-being. In 1993, of the native title reversed the concept of ‘terra nullius’, in Australia and according to this revision, “land belonged to no one at the time of European invasion”. This is a kind of official recognition given under the federal law of Australia coming under the traditional interests and rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people whose sole relation exist with water and land (Cassidy, 2017, pp.8).
The interaction of these contemporary and historical factors influences health and well-being of the indigenous Australians. The indigenous people nurture completely different thoughts in health as compared to the non-indigenous people. According to them, health has no relation with the physical state but shares a significant relationship with the social and emotional states. The health of indigenous people is thus directly related with land. Here land means ownership not a neatly decorated land. It is the land where they perform their cultural activities and such cultural activities bring mental satisfaction. It can also be stated that health is very much culturally determined (Taylor & Guerin, 2010, pp. 90-94).
There are different contemporary factors that also influence health and wellbeing of the indigenous Australians, one of which is environmental health (Taylor & Guerin, 2010, pp. 90-94).  After from the environment model there are several other factors, which affect the health model. The immigrants in Australia occupies survived under various geographical location by adopting different lifestyles. The socio-economic disadvantage, environmental, social factors and geographic factors of the indigenous communities influence health and well-being (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 34).

Table: Models of health
Source: (Taylor & Guerin, 2010, pp. 92)
The state of housing and sanitation influence health of indigenous people. In indigenous communities, the housing structures are mostly located in the remote areas and it is characterized by poor infrastructure. However, the non-indigenous people enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with sewerage systems, electricity and water supply. The poor housing framework attributes to ill health among the indigenous people. Nurses who work with indigenous people must always leave a part of themselves available for important reflection on the notion of the society (Crowden, 2013, pp.124).

Figure: Factors affecting health of the indigenous people
Overcrowding is another common factor in the houses of indigenous people (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 109). Overcrowding occurs three times more among indigenous people than in non-indigenous Australians. Indigenous people are culturally rich and have occasions on a regular basis, which counts large foot fall of the relatives and this increases the risk of spreading contagious diseases among the population. Moreover, indigenous people lack proper opportunity in education and this lack of proper educational backup further prevents them from understanding the importance of health and hygiene (Hampton, Ronald & Maree, 2013, pp. 108).
Nutrition and food security are important in determining health and well-being among indigenous communities. Poor nutrition contributes to obesity, malnutrition, Cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, and even tooth decay among a section of indigenous Australians. However, there lay a lack of nutrition and health awareness among indigenous people as the nurses refuse to work with them because; they need to respect the language, culture and the social ethics of the aboriginal people (Reilly et al., 2011, pp. 2-7).
Majority of the community members opt to seek traditional means of treating health conditions. Their mostly emphasise on the traditional belief and applied that on land, animals and health (Crowden, 2013, pp. 124). In order to promote health among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, the community nurses need to work under a tight right social environment. The nurses must practice culturally safe model to serve this indigenous. Their actions must not demean their cultural value. It is important for the health professionals that they so not refer to the stereotyped views while serving their indigenous clients (Taylor & Guerin, 2010, pp. 93-94). It has been shown that the majorityof indigenous people who are dwelling in remote areas suffer from adequate supply of food (Markwick, Ansari, Sullivan, Parsons, & McNeil, 2014, pp. 2-10). The lack of food and escalating hunger, contribute to malnutrition among children. The indigenous people eat food but not nutrients Reilly et al. 2011, pp. 7 of 9). Immunization also plays an important role in improving an indigenous child’s survival and health.  According to the National Immunization Program (NIP), the immunization coverage among Australian and its effectiveness to disease prevention among indigenous communities has increased since 2008. A perfect health definition includes healthy food, good hygiene, adequate exercise and no smoking habits (Taylor & Guerin, 2010, pp. 88). The oral consumption of tobacco for instance, is carcinogenic and causes cardiovascular diseases.   A report showed that 39% of the indigenous Australians aged 15 years and above were daily smokers (Lillard, 2015, pp. 16).  It estimate percentage was however lower as compared to earlier years indicating a reduction in smoking along with generation of awareness.
Racist attitude is common in Australia. Racism is regarded both explicitly and implicitly as the principal cause behind the extreme the health disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal Australians (Larson, Gillies, Howard & Coffin, 2007, pp. 322). An unpublished survey done over the Indigenous people in Darwin, Australia revealed that interpersonal racism is Australia and such racist behaviour is associated with a range of problematic mental and physical health (Larson, Gillies, Howard & Coffin, 2007, pp. 322-325). Studies have confirmed that there exist a direct correlation between elevated high blood pressure, indigenous Australians and racism (Larson, Gillies, Howard & Coffin, 2007, pp. 322). A recent study by the Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey on indigenous children under 12 years indicated that 21.5% of children experience racism in a tenure of 6 months. Not only this, in the western portion of Australia, nearly 52% of the urban residents and more than 69% of the residents of a typical regional centre in revealed extreme prejudice when compared against the health backup of Aboriginal Australians (Larson, Gillies, Howard & Coffin, 2007, pp. 323). The, inferiority complex, lower educational attachment arising out of racism contributed to an increase in smoking and obesity (Hampton & Maree, 2013, pp. 35). Furthermore, the racial discrimination has made indigenous women to become victims of crime and sexual harassment. According to Little Children are Sacred Report, child sexual abuse was common in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities (Hampton & Maree, 2013, pp. 44). This continuous target of the Australian aboriginal as a suspect of physical or sexual violence degraded their self-esteemed and affected their health backup (Hampton & Maree, 2013, pp. 33). Race and racism have been major determinants of employment over time. Indigenous people are more likely to be unemployed with high percentage of school dropout (Larson, Gillies, Howard & Coffin, 2007, pp. 322- 323). Moreover, the women are likely to live in communities that are extremely violent. These factors influence their health and well-being (Hampton & Maree, 2013, pp. 29).

Figure: Impact of racism
(Source: Hampton & Maree, 2013, pp. 32)
However, according to the report published by the Australian Government of Productivity commission (2014), economic outcomes of the indigenous people in Australia have improved with increase in the rate of life expectancy and higher child mortality. This shows that indigenous people are gradually trying to fight back against their poor health backup. But there still exist high rate of occurrence of chronic and mental diseases along with hospitalization rate for self-harm.
Therefore from the above discussion, it can be concluded that the history, political and social scenario along with racism has a significant impact on the health and the well-being of the indigenous Australian people. The presentation thus agrees with the position that “There is an indisputable relationship between the enduring impact of colonisation and current health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”.
Cassidy, K. (2017). Communicating positively A guide to appropriate Aboriginal terminology(p. 23). North Sydney Australia: NSW Department of Health 2004. Retrieved from https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aboriginal/Publications/pub-terminology.pdf
Crowden, A. (2013). Ethics and indigenous health care: cultural competencies, protocols and integrity Oxford University Press, vol. 196(2), pp. 115
Hampton, A, F. & Maree T. (2013). Racism, colonisation/colonialism and impacts on indigenous people. Oxford University Press, vol. 196(2), pp. 29
Hampton, A, F., Ronald, S, J., & Maree T. (2013) Indigenous Australians and Health : The Wombat in the Room. Oxford University Press, vol. 196(2), pp. 50-65.
Hampton, R. (2013). Communication for working with indigenous Australians. University Press, vol. 196(7), pp. 132
Larson, A., Gillies, M., Howard, P, J., & Coffin, J. (2007). It’s enough to make you sick: the impact of  racism on the health of Aboriginal Australians. Australian and New Zealand Journal Of Public Health. Vol. 31(4), pp. 320-324.
Lillard, D. R. (2015). Smoking in Australia. Life-Course Smoking Behavior: Patterns and National Context in Ten Countries, 15. Oxford University Press. Vol. 19(5), pp. 16.
Markwick, A., Ansari, Z., Sullivan, M., Parsons, L., & McNeil, J. (2014). Inequalities in the social determinants of health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: a cross-sectional population-based study in the Australian state of Victoria. International journal for equity in health, vol. 13(1), pp. 91 (1 to 12). 10.1186/s12939-014-0091-5
Pc.gov.au. Retrieved 13 September 2017, from https://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/overcoming-indigenous-disadvantage/2014
Reilly, R. E., Cincotta, M., Doyle, J., Firebrace, B. R., Cargo, M., van den Tol, G., & Rowley, K. G. (2011). A pilot study of Aboriginal health promotion from an ecological perspective. BMC Public Health, vol. 11(1), pp. 749 (1 to 9), https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-11-749
Sajiv, C. (2013). Cultural considerations when providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) opting for conservative care. Nephrology. DOI: 10.1111/nep.12080
Taylor, K. & Guerin, P. (2010). Models of health. In Health care and indigenous Australians: cultural safety in practice (pp. 88-97). South Yarra, VIC. : Palgrave Macmillan, vol. (10)5, pp. 88-97.

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