Many Indigenous people have overcome great hurdles to achieve great things for their communities and for Australia as a whole. However, there are still many Indigenous people who are disadvantaged in our country.
The Link Between Primary Health Care and Health Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians The health of Indigenous peoples This review explores the evidence both domestically and internationally as to whether access to high quality primary health care is essential to enhancing Indigenous health status.
Australia, as a First World, wealthy nation with a small — but in health terms, highly disadvantaged — Indigenous population, is most often compared to other nations in a similar position, namely the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
In this section we shall follow this convention and look briefly at the changing health status of Native American, Canadian First Nations, and New Zealand Maori populations, before turning to look at the latest data on health status of Australian Indigenous people.
What is also clear is that the health status of these populations — no less than that of nations as a whole — is not static. In New Zealand, for example, the picture over the last half-century has been mixed.
In the early s, life expectancies for Maori were 54 years for men and 56 years for women, with a gap of around 14 and 17 years to non-Maori men and women respectively. Maori life expectancy then increased rapidly from the s until the early s to around 64 years for men and 69 years for women and at this time the life expectancy gap with non-Maori had narrowed substantially to only 6 to 8 years.
However, during the s and s, Maori life expectancy remained relatively static, only improving by around 2 years while non-Maori life expectancy continued a steeper upward path.
Bythe life expectancy gap therefore widened quite dramatically to around 10 years — or back to what it had been in the early to mids. A similar pattern is evident in the United States, where between and there were substantial improvements in the health of Native Americans as measured by life expectancy: By the mid s, the gap had widened to almost 5 years both sexes and by the period it was almost 6 years.
This period saw the life expectancy gap between First Nations peoples and Canadians as a whole narrow from 10 to 11 years in to 7 to 8 years in This slowing of improvements meant that the s saw no appreciable improvement in the gap in life expectancy between First Nation and Canadian men in general 7.
Broadly speaking, New Zealand, the United States and Canada saw major health improvements for Indigenous populations up to around the s, leading to an appreciable narrowing of the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and mainstream populations.
However, between the s and the end of the century, a slowing or stalling of Indigenous health improvements measured by life expectancy meant that the gap failed to close significantly Canada or even widened New Zealand and the United States.
This is unfortunately borne out by the facts. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy The life expectancy gap in Australia between Indigenous people and the mainstream population is greater than that in the countries examined above: This gives a gap in life expectancy of around 17 years for both sexes — considerably greater than that seen in the other First World countries.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy in has been officially estimated at around 60 years for men and 65 for women, with a gap to non-Indigenous life expectancies of around 17 years for both sexes.
Irrespective of which figures are used, it is clear that, measured by life expectancy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have worse health than their Indigenous counterparts overseas, with a much greater life expectancy gap to the mainstream population.
Closing the Gap Whatever the estimates of life expectancy, there has been much criticism of the apparent inability of Australia to narrow the gap between the life expectancy of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This target along with halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade was also endorsed by all Australian jurisdictions at the Council of Australian Governments meeting on 20 December The changing nature of Indigenous health The campaigns for narrowing the gap between the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other citizens are clearly justified, and any government commitment to closing the health gap will no doubt be widely welcomed.
However, a concentration on the relativity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health compared to mainstream health can sometimes mask improvements in the absolute health status of Indigenous Australians.
Against this view must be placed some of the positive changes in Indigenous health status measured over time, in particular using the key measures of life expectancy and mortality.
ABS figures appear to document an improvement from tobut the Bureau cautions against comparing the figures due to different methodologies in calculation for the two periods. Nevertheless, the alternative, and methodologically consistent, method of calculating life expectancies referred to above saw a modest increase between the two periods of around 1 year for both men and women.
It appears that in that jurisdiction, between and life expectancy at birth increased by 8 years for Indigenous men and around 14 years for Indigenous women to 60 and 68 years respectively and the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancies declined for women from over 20 years in the s to around 15 years while still unfortunately increasing for men from Research from the Northern Territory indicates improvements in life expectancy by 8 years for Indigenous men and 14 years for Indigenous women from the s until Indigenous Disadvantage While the East Kimberley is rich in natural resources, its Aboriginal population experiences significant disadvantage, particularly relative to its non-Aboriginal population.
The figures below come from the Census. Why are indigenous people in Australia still disadvantaged with regard to health and community services?
“The status of Indigenous health in contemporary Australia is a result of historic factors as well as contemporary socio-economic issues” (Hampton & Toombs, , p.
1). The health of Indigenous peoples. This review explores the evidence both domestically and internationally as to whether access to high quality primary health care is essential to enhancing Indigenous health status.
The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters of Australia and the Torres Strait. We respect all Aboriginal . Social determinants and the health of Indigenous peoples in Australia – a human rights based approach.
Author. Area: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice. Social determinants and the health of Indigenous peoples in Australia – a human rights based approach is likely to help improve the health status of people living in.
1. Introduction. Improving the health status of Indigenous peoples1 in Australia is a longstanding challenge for governments in Australia. The gap in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains unacceptably wide.2 It has been identified as a human rights concern by United Nations committees3; and acknowledged as such by Australian governments4.