It has been established that the aboriginal Australians are sicker and die earlier than the non-aboriginal Australians. According to the Australian health care system, aboriginal members have access to health services mainly through the publicly funded health centers (Marshall, 2004). There is need for improvement in the health of the aboriginal Australians because the health experts in those indigenous areas are limited. The aboriginal Australians are also reluctant in adapting to the changes in the health sector leading to poor health in general (ABS, 2005). The reason why they become sicker and die earlier should be established. This will help experts in coming up with better strategies of improving the health of this community (Leeder, 2003).
The aboriginal people will only have equal access to health as the non-aboriginal Australians if the following factors are put into consideration: proper government funding, accessible health services, improvement in the economy, educational and social factors (Dodson & Smith, 2003). As a medical officer in one of the health care centers, it is of great importance to analyze the lifestyle of this community so as to come up with a better system of dealing with their health issues.
Several factors have impacted on the health of the aboriginal people; for example, colonization. During colonization, their land was taken away from them. This was mainly done through violence, and in the event, the children were also alienated from their parents. The colonialists also brought in infectious diseases to the community (Broome, 2001). This caused trauma and grief among the aboriginal people which they still feel up to date. It also rendered them poor. Studies also show that they have low employment rates, of about sixteen percent, as compared to the non-Aboriginal communities. This low income has resulted in poor nutrition, inadequate health care and health education (Mooney, 2003). Also, because of their cultural background, they experience continuous discrimination and isolation. Due to these experiences they have become disadvantaged in their economic and social lives because, they are not given equal opportunities as compared to their counter parts. Thus they are unable to get better access to health care. What then can be done to solve this issue? The Australian government signed the ‘close the gap’ statement which was implemented to ensure that everyone was involved in ensuring that every aboriginal person can access equal health services as other Australians (Chandler & Lalonde, 1998).
Due to lack of better health education, many aboriginal people have little or no knowledge about health issues. This is a major drawback in the health care system because; the aboriginal people are still carrying out their activities of hunting and gathering, thus limiting them to the current education system. Many also lost access to their land resulting in poor economic growth and low or no consumption of nutritious foods. Due to the current literacy status of the community, it is hard to convince them to get access to the current nutritious food that is good for their health. Also, it is difficult to convince them of the importance of using the current technology in the treatment of their diseases (Dwyer & O’Donnell, 2009).
Aboriginal people need much more attention when it comes to treating them. They require special treatment because of the necessity of them knowing the background issues that surround their lifestyle. They require counseling to ensure that they do not feel discriminated, and also to eliminate the trauma that they faced during colonization. These indigenous Australians not only need health services but also good delivery of healthy services. It is also necessary to improve the awareness of the aboriginal people on the preventive measures that are available in the market. They need to know that prevention is a better strategy of eliminating the major health problems that they face rather having to cure the diseases. The preventive measures include screening, Pap smear and vaccination, which are intended to identify diseases in their earlier stages before they get to advanced stages (Jones, 2000).
Working with the aboriginal people requires much more attention than working with the ordinary Australians. This is because their lifestyle is different. They need longer time for consultation as compared to the non indigenous Australians. They have a higher chance of being admitted because of the diseases they are exposed to. They also have to wait longer so as to undergo some public surgery because of their low income status. Due to their poor social and emotional wellbeing, they also need better mental health services as compared to the non indigenous people. Recent studies show that they form the majority of Australians using drugs and alcohol.
Due to the various challenges experienced from handling aboriginal people of Australia, as a medical officer, there is a greater need to take more time in addressing their issues so as to understand their needs and satisfy them fully. The health center which deals with many people of this kind, should employ more people so as to ensure that every patient gets quality time with the health practitioner and hence the best services possible. This will reduce the gap between the indigenous and the non indigenous, and ensure that they both get equal access to the health care services. By doing so, the indigenous can be uplifted and this will help boost their esteem, so that they feel fit in the society they live in. By tackling these difficulties, the aboriginal people will get access to better health services. Quality access to health services is fundamental for good health and human beings’ wellbeing (Blainey, 1980).
Australian Bureau of Statistics. Year Book of 2005. Web.
Blainey, B. (1980). A Land Half Won. South Melbourne: Macmillan Publishers.
Broome, R. (2001). Aboriginal Australians: Black Responses to White Dominance. Australia: Allen & Unwin.
Chandler, M. & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural Continuity as a Hedge against Suicide in Canada’s First Nations, Tran cultural Psychiatry. Australia.
Dodson, M. & Smith, D. (2003). Governance for Sustainable Development. CAEPR Discussion Paper. Australia.
Dwyer, J. & O’Donnell, K. (2009). The Overburden Report Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health, Darwin.
Jones, C.P. (2000). Levels of Racism: A Theoretical Framework and Gardener’s Tale: American Journal of Public Health.
Leeder, S. (2003). Achieving Equity in the Australian Health Care System. New York. Columbia University.
Marshall, D. (2004). Aboriginal Australians. New York: Weigl Publishers Inc.
Mooney, G. (2003). Economics, Medicine and Health Care. 3rd ed. London: Prentice Hall