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Namely, Aboriginal populations have tended to be more likely to be experience over-crowding, squalor, high rates of infectiousness, poor nutrition and hygiene and faulty infrastructure. All of these increase vulnerability to disease, the spread of disease and the susceptibility to illness. In combination with a comparatively limited excess to healthcare professionals or healthcare facilities, this places Aboriginals at a considerably higher risk of illness and mortality.
Indeed, this vulnerability results in myriad medical conditions that prove to be ethnically affiliated. According to a study by Cook (2005), "It is well established that Aboriginal Australians suffer significantly more health and welfare problems than non-Indigenous Australians. This disproportionate suffering can be evidenced in the rising rates of end-stage renal disease." (Cook, 1) This is just one of a wide array of medical vulnerabilities that appear to be specific to the Aboriginal population and which can severely diminished mortality projections. This denotes a need for lifelong preventative measures as a way diminishing the likelihood of suffering such conditions.
The value in approach such a problem through the proliferation of vaccination, for one example, is manifold. In particular, "vaccine-preventable diseases are particularly amenable to rapid and cost-effective prevention, and targeted vaccination programs have been shown to reduce health disparities. However, delivery of these programs, like other healthcare interventions, depends on culturally appropriate health services." (McIntyre & Menzies, 270) This last point highlights a recurrent issue in this discussion, which is a distinct shortcoming of Aboriginal healthcare professionals, Aboriginal linguistic specialists and facilities in geographical proximity to Aboriginal communities. By consequence, there are genuine obstacles to surmount in simply bringing those demographics at high risk of health disparity to a place of awareness or access to those treatment options which might be available to them.
Among such obstacles, the social marginalization of Australia's Aboriginal populations has produced a number of circumstances which have been magnified by the passage of time. At present, the challenge to healthcare providers of penetrating these demographics is considerable and beset by an array of problematic symptoms. Among them, "forced relocation, urban migration, poor education, lack of employment, low income, inadequate housing, lack of environmental infrastructure and a paucity of appropriate health service provision are important social determinants of ill health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people." (Hayman et al., 604)
This points to a clear need for outreach that should first and foremost be channel through healthcare workers. A key recommendation to emerge from this research is to remove the marginalization of these demographics by both creating geographically optimal healthcare facilities and by staffing them with personnel of Aboriginal descent or ties to Aboriginal communities. In particular, these facilities would be distinguished by a priority in recruiting Aboriginal language speakers and nurses of the Aboriginal culture.
The ambition would be to effect a two-fold change for the Aboriginal community by creating an employment and training drive amongst qualified young residents. This would help to improve the prospects for many members of the community who could see a bright future as nursing professionals. Simultaneously, this initiative could help to strengthen the perceived ties between community and healthcare facility, especially benefiting the impression of cultural sensitivity and adaptiveness to the specific health needs of the population in question.
Ultimately, it will fall upon Australia's healthcare commission to produce the proper resources to dispatch facilities, outreach programs and hiring drives in the very communities impacted. All evidence suggestion that the conditions to which Aboriginals are subjected are unacceptable by general Australian living standards. Therefore, it falls directly upon Australia to improve the lot of a people long exploited by the ethnic and economic realities of English settlement. Improving the medical access and participation in the medical system may allow us to travel a modest distance in resolving a deeply ingrained and devastatingly long-standing inequality.
Cook, P.S. (2005). Medical Marginalization of Aboriginal Australians: Renal Translplantation and Xenotransplantation. TASA Conference.
Hayman, N.E.; White, N.E. & Spurling, G.K. (2009). Improving Indigenous patients' access to mainstream health services: the Inala experience. Medical Journal of Australia, 190, 10, 604-606.
Marmot, M. (2005). Social Determinants of Health Inequalities. Lancet, 365, 1099-1104..
McIntyre, P.B. & Menzies, R.I. (2005). Immunisation: Reducing Health Inequality for Indigenous Australians. Medical Journal of Australia, 182(5),…[continue]
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