Health of Indigenous Australian Using Ecological and Holistic Health Paradigm
Patterns of health and illness
Impact of Broader Environments
Health is a basic component of human life that comprises of multiple facets. The description of health has witnessed dramatic change during past few years, as it has become a holistic phenomenon. Previously, it was considered that a healthy person is the one who does not suffer from any ailment or illness. However in recent times, the physical, psychological and communal aspects of human life have been amalgamated to give a broader perspective to human health which is identical to the concept of indigenous communities (Hjelm, 2010).
Numerous organizations are working extensively for providing adequate health care to the world population since many decades. However, it is appalling to notice that discrimination on social, economic and political grounds has coerced indigenous populations to languish in poor health conditions in regions like Australia. Despite of unprecedented advancements in the field of medicine and health, the needs of indigenous people have been largely overlooked. Furthermore, they are more vulnerable to contract diseases but lack access to health care facilities (Hjelm, 2010).
Patterns of health and illness
Although Australian indigenous population has inferior health conditions than other Australians, their male populace forms unhealthiest group in the whole region. Studies highlight that they consume unbalanced diet and do not engage themselves in physical exercise, which beget to their ill-health. They are likely to suffer from chronic diseases of respiratory, excretory and circulatory systems, obesity and related enormities. Moreover, statistical analysis of the figures illustrates that the health status of Australian aboriginals is atrociously lower than the condition of population in all developed nations (Caltabiano & Ricciardelli, 2012).
Few researches estimate that a death rate amongst indigenous Australians is approximately double folded to figures amongst non-indigenous population. Particularly, the adults are more likely to die earlier than members of other age groups. This fact develops a major concern, as it results in shrinking of non-dependable population, thus creating survival difficulties for dependable individuals. Additionally, studies depict that male indigenous populace lives more than a decade lesser than non-indigenous male inhabitants (Biddle & Yap, 2010).
Researches exhibit that lack of consumption of nutritious diet during gestation period beget to almost twenty percent of the babies to be underweight at the time of birth. Furthermore, due to lack of resources, infants do not receive adequate medical assistance to restore their health; therefore, they are susceptible of suffering from diseases that may result in death. Sources reveal that a gargantuan proportion of indigenous children are currently suffering from malnutrition that can hamper their holistic progress (Orford, 2008).
Indigenous Australians live in an environment where they confront cultural, spiritual, financial and social deterioration. The feeling of loss of identity leaves an indelible imprint on their mind and behavior, thus affecting their mental health adversely. Furthermore, most individuals are reported to suffer from shock and sorrow which is being reflected from their abnormal behavior (Cooper, 2011).
Some schools of thought believe that ample statistics doesn't exist to claim the occurrence of psychological enormities in Australian indigenous communities. However, few studies bring this fact to the limelight that indigenous Australians are (in few cases) equally and (in most cases) more likely to suffer from mental ill-health than other denizens (Cooper, 2011).
Emotional agony and suffering cause indigenous individuals to develop psychological disorders. It is estimated from the hospital records that casualties of mental ailments are far more then twofold for indigenous people in comparison to non-indigenous individuals. Furthermore, Indigenous people of Australia consume few chemicals that affect their mental function and behavior adversely, since they may prove to be fatal in few cases (Elder, Evans & Nizette, 2011).
Consequently, the victims connected to the usage of these harmful substances amongst indigenous populace is a little below five times than amongst non-indigenous population regarding both genders. Additionally, the death rate due to this factor is also higher for indigenous individuals specifically amongst male members (Elder, Evans & Nizette, 2011).
Indigenous communities including the Australian aboriginals believe in the holistic perspective of health, which associate it with other facets of human community such as social, mental and spiritual well-being. Their idea is that all the systems on planet Earth are well-organized and mutually reliant on one another. Additionally, they prefer natural remedies for illnesses and diseases, as they strongly deem that nature is closely related to human life so the treatment must have been hidden in it. Therefore, the entire population of Australian indigenous people greatly relies on herbs and ancient formulas for the treatment of their illnesses and diseases (Cook & Zumla, 2009).
Moreover, the primary source of cure is based on herbal remedies and the advice of older people, as they are considered experienced and knowledgeable amongst all. However, an extensive pattern has been witnessed that western medicines and herbal treatments go hand in hand (Cook & Zumla, 2009).
Native Australians have strong spiritual beliefs that develop a feeling of association with the creator within them. It is their thought that religion heals their sorrows by providing them assistance to restore their health enormity. Moreover, spirituality aids them to recover from the state of misery. An interesting fact amongst the natives is that they closely relate spirituality and nature, which explains their preference for herbal remedies for diseases (Cook & Zumla, 2009).
Indigenous Australians have been excessively subjected to discrimination by the governing bodies, as they do not receive adequate resources and justice that are necessary for their quality survival. Furthermore, they are coerced to live in a devastated social environment where even the basic domestic facilities are absent. Studies depict that there exists a profound connection between social discrimination and the health pattern of the aboriginals. Furthermore, scarcity of basic resources such as food, shelter, education and job opportunities; dearth of money and neglected social status has led to generation of feeling of inferiority and helplessness amongst the natives (Eckermann, Dowd, Chong, Nixon & Gray, 2010).
Past evidences depict that couple of centuries ago, the health conditions of indigenous people were not as vulnerable as in the current time. Nevertheless, during the latter half of eighteenth century, numerous chronic and lethal diseases emerged and embraced a large percentage of people into its drastic effects. As a consequence, a historic proportion of people died which caused a severe decline in the population. Furthermore, it has disturbed the social pattern of indigenous societies in Australia, as the sufferers were forced to move away from their families to curb the spread of diseases (Eckermann, Dowd, Chong, Nixon & Gray, 2010).
Although the health enormities were initiated several years back, it has unfortunately continued till the present era. Moreover, few social features of the Australian community as a whole have fuelled in to worsen the condition (Eckermann, Dowd, Chong, Nixon & Gray, 2010).
Impact of Broader Environments
Natural environment refers to the necessities that are imperative for the survival of human beings such as nutritious food, clean drinking water, proper infrastructure, adequate sanitation facilities and so on. However, indigenous Australians are deprived of many of these resources that worsen their health state (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012).
Biodiversity and climatic changes are also integral elements of natural environment. It is believed that human life is greatly supported and protected by rich biodiversity and records show that indigenous people have always worked for the conservation of the environment and biodiversity in particular. As a result, indigenous population takes immense benefits from it to improve their health conditions. However, deforestation and consequent effects pose great threats to the health of the locals (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012).
Environments of the places where people spend most of their time significantly affect the health of indigenous Australians. These places include offices, recreational spots, schools, universities and most importantly residential areas. Experts have explained that built atmosphere greatly determines the physical activity and thus the health pattern of people. Therefore, lack of physical exercise combined with intake of fat-rich diet lead to several diseases amongst indigenous population (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012).
Houses in which native population resides are in terrible conditions, where the presence of pests is a common problem. Additionally, the fittings and instruments do not function properly which may risk the health (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012).
Social environment plays a vital role in determining the health status of native Australians. They are deprived of even the basic privileges and facilities such as healthy environment and access to substantial health care that are essential for spending an average life. Reports have identified few factors that link poor social surroundings to the health of Indigenous population. The individuals are not well-educated; therefore, they are incapable of comprehending and accurately implementing health advices (Carson, Dunbar & Dunbar, 2007).
Furthermore, overpopulation and dilapidated condition of houses…