There are numerous health issues involving Aboriginal group and the Torres Strait Islander people who are native people of Australia. Therefore, o understand and appreciate the health issues surrounding such people, it will be necessary to explain briefly about their historical background which relates to health issues. Different cultural groups found in Australia have been experiencing similar health issues. However, cultural diversity and other causal factors make such health problem to differ from one cultural group to the other. The indigenous Australians especially Aboriginal communities have experienced severe health issues due to historical factors. Therefore, it is necessary for nurses to be informed about the historical background of those indigenous Australians and how history has contributed to their current health status. Also, it is essential for healthcare students to undertake a cultural respect program.
General Health Status
The status of health for the Aboriginal community is considerably poor compared to other Australian groups. While the life expectancy of non-indigenous people of Australia rises over time, the life expectancy of those indigenous Australians has remained significantly lower. Also, the rate of hospitalization for mental health and chronic diseases is higher for Aboriginal people as compared to non-indigenous Australians. Some of the main factors that contribute to deprived health status for the Aboriginal people comprise of limited access to primary healthcare, poor living conditions, lack of health education and cultural respect for health services. Also, inequality in social justice and of human rights which include poor funding to the healthcare, and the effects of racism and deficiency of secure employment opportunities contribute to their poor health status.
Challenges Faced by Midwives, Nurses, and Students.
Underrepresentation and Inequality
Aboriginal nurses, students, and midwives have been experiencing similar challenges throughout their career. Some of the challenges facing them include being less represented in the workforce, cultural isolation, and racism which causes cultural insecurity. Statistics show that nurses and midwives currently on make up slightly over 1% of the workforce in Australia. The professions of midwifery and nursing have been playing a key role in enhancing the healthy lives of the Aboriginal community and addressing health inequality. One of the ways in which the profession has contributed to the improvement of health is implementing the recommendations of the report of the Indigenous Nursing Education.
Cultural Isolation and Racism
Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander communities have been facing cultural discrimination. In many cases, those that work in public health facilities are given additional responsibilities. This workload causes burnout rates to increase for those indigenous Australians. The recent research shows that most of the Aboriginals face discrimination often on many occasions. Racism also occurs in health systems and not only affect the staff but also the patients. These actions are very distressing and could cause serious health consequences such as changes in jobs, or demotivation from pursuing career opportunities for midwives and nurses and withdrawal from studies for students.
Recommendations for Improving Healthcare
The Federation of Australians Midwifery and Nursing gave several recommendations regarding the approach to improving healthcare among the Aboriginal people. One of the recommendations was that Aboriginal people should be able to afford access to primary healthcare, adequate nutrition, clean water, and fresh food as well as education for supporting employment, healthy lifestyle and safe housing.
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