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The Indigenous health in Australia, is it getting better or worse? By Hawon Choi While New Zealand, Canada, and USA have accomplished to increase the health standard of their Indigenous people, Aboriginal people are undergoing a descending health crisis. A reporter of Sydney Morning Herald said that, “Australia is the only place on the planet where Indigenous health and well-being are going backwards.” By the definition of National Aboriginal Community Health Organisation, Aboriginal health is defined as not just the individual’s physical health, but designates to the communal, psychological and ethnic well-being of the entire community in which each person is capable of achieving their full potential, thereby accomplishing about the total healthiness of its community. Unfortunately, the Aboriginal health, which had been put a lot of attentions and efforts by the government and the public, has been acknowledged with only little improvements and succeeds, and is mostly confessed to be worsening. In Australia, the population of the Aboriginal people is now over 575,550 out of the total Australian population of nearly 23,000,000. Of all the Aboriginal people, hundred percent are in risk of any diseases currently known. This is means that the current condition and surroundings are so bad that there is no guarantee that no individual will not undergo such health conditions as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, hepatitis, dental disease, dementia, hearing loss, blindness, and other numerous infections. The life expectancy is so poor that virtually half of the Aboriginal male and over the third of the female die before the age of forty-five and the average of the Aboriginal people live twenty years less than all Australians. Issues in the Indigenous health have become very important and significant problem as many Aboriginal people have died from insufficient nutrition and lack of medication. The cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of Indigenous death, has caused twenty-seven percent of the Indigenous death. This includes all diseases and conditions affecting the heart and the blood vessels. The risk factors of these are smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, high blood pressure and cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and kidney diseases. Moreover, 60% of the Indigenous people are more likely to pass away from any types of Cancer than non-Aboriginal people. How can we prevent this? Most diseases can be influenced by modifications to the individual’s behaviour, lifestyle, or the use of medication. Australian government has given full aid to the Aboriginal people for them to stay healthy. 3.5% of the total health expenditure has been spent on Aboriginal health. In addition, there are now 150 Aboriginal community-controlled health services. There were a few positive reports recently from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service, which has been operating in Brisbane. The service had doubled number of patients, did at least five health checks on each individuals. Furthermore, the results included significant decreases in the cholesterol levels, smoking rates, diabetes rates and blood pressure. In conclusion, even though there had been a little success on the issues, there is still far to go to stabilise the health of the Aboriginal people and keep it stable. Liz Hayden from the Aboriginal Health Unit of Graylands Hospital said, “The dispossession, loss of identity, loss of land, this has all led to a whole lot of lost people.” To achieve the standard of the definition of the Aboriginal health above in the first paragraph, the health services will have to work really hard. Hopefully, in a few decades, the Aboriginal health will overcome this state and be as good as the non-Indigenous health.


Aboriginal Health