Delivery in day(s): 5
Contemporary Issues In Healthcare Oz Assignment
“The following paper is my own work and is original and has not been
submitted for assessment”.
Myths have always been fascinating and they always seem believable. I had certain preconceived notions when it came to the Torres Islanders and the Aboriginals of Australia. I was under the impression that Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders lived in the desserts, mountains and highlands of Australia (The Nature Conservancy Australia 2018). I had a typical notion that they were uneducated, diseased and they do not want to work. One thing that I was sure of was the fact that these Aboriginals were high on drugs and alcohol abuse. I was made to believe that these first Australians had special privileges given to them by the Australian Government. Some also say that the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders practice occult and dark arts. All of these myths and prejudices were proven incorrect when I, myself visited a few places and had a chance to meet the first Australians. I had mixed emotions when I first heard about the assignment. I felt nervous and excited at the same time. The thought of meeting the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders were daunting at first. It is only later that I realized that the first Australians are just like all of us. It is sad that even today we think of them as a separate entity based on colour and other aspects. The misconceptions I had was due to a lack of developing product knowledge and external influences at large.
I discovered that majority of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders live in cities such as Sydney, Brisbane and Coffs Harbour (Kinnane et al. 2014). The Torres Strait Islanders are majorly found in Queensland. About 35% Aboriginal men and about 40 to 80% Aboriginal women do not consume alcohol. It has been estimated that around 75% of Aboriginals do not consume alcohol on the Northern Territory. It is believed that the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders do not have the urge to work. On the contrary, these first Australians are very much willing to work and they work on Community Development and Employment Project (CDEP). They do not receive any extra benefits or aids from the Australian Government (Parker and Milroy 2014). In fact, the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders are the most marginalized and economically disadvantaged group (Hunt 2013). The Aboriginals do not receive any additional benefit when it comes to higher social security compared to other Australians. The Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders are entitled to two special benefits. The Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders have a higher mortality rate than other Australians. A common myth is that the Aboriginals can purchase a car or bicycle and the Government will meet the expenses. This is highly fabricated as the Aboriginals either pay in cash or credit whenever they buy a car. The laws are equal and same for the Australians as well as the Aboriginals. In fact, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander women are prone to physical violence and abuse than other Australian women. It is also believed that the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders excel only at sports whereas, many Indigenous Australians have expertise in the field of business, law, medicine, software and others (Dudgeon et al. 2014). For instance, Stephen Page is an internationally renowned dancer and choreographer, Bob Bellear is the first indigenous judge and Dr Kelvin Kong is a prolific surgeon.
Being prejudiced about a community or group of people is a shameful thing. I have had biased opinions regarding the first Australians but it all changed by deeper understanding of their cultural aspects. In order to work in any health related field it is important to be non-judgmental, honest and have a keen interest in knowing their culture (Lowe and Yunkaporta 2013). My outlook towards the community has changed as I have become more compassionate towards them. I have understood that they are like all of us. They have a bad past but they have come a long way. The Aboriginals are also spiritual people. As a healthcare expert, the understanding of the Aboriginals will help me in providing quick assistance in case of an emergency and deal efficiently with their health issues. The Indigenous Australians are prone to various health related diseases and disorders like mental problems, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, pneumonia, rheumatic fever, kidney diseases, respiratory disorders and others (Naidu et al. 2013). They are also highly susceptible to HIV/AIDS. It is also seen that suicide rates are higher in the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders than other Australians.
It was after attending an actual simulation activity that I learned about the culture of the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginals. A few weeks before that I remember watching a documentary based on the Thursday Island located in the Torres Strait of Queensland. This document intrigued me so much that I started watching more documentaries regarding the first Australians. Later in class, our professor gave a lecture on the history and culture of the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. This helped me dive deep into the cultural aspects of the first Australians. When I took the course, I felt very curious and excited at first. I was eager to know all about the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginals. It was shocking to know that they had to face so much humiliation and racial discrimination before. In fact, even today racism is of major concern in many countries.
From my personal experience, I can say that the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders are peace loving, knowledgeable, down to earth and spiritual human beings. They carry out their day-to-day tasks with a lot of dignity and discipline. They are also hard working people and are now engaged in various professions like teaching, law, business, doctors and more. They have expanded their horizons economically, socially and culturally. The first Australians are very warm and caring by nature. The most admirable quality they have is the fact that they are environment conservationists (Fredericks 2013). They see themselves as one with nature. They are deeply connected with nature and feel responsible towards the same. After interacting with them, I realized that the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders were psychologically and emotionally to a great extent due to racial discrimination and injustice. Racism largely impacts the health of the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders. Thus, it is important for health care experts and everyone else to be sensitive towards this issue.
I strongly believe that now I will be more comfortable and open minded while working with the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders families. It is also very important to develop a healthy and friendly relationship with the patient and his family. A relationship based on mutual respect, understanding and trust will help both the parties. If the patients cooperate then it makes the work easier for the doctor and health care experts. Sound knowledge management of the background and history of the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders will help in identifying the needs of the children and the families (Wise et al.2013). It will also help in providing an appropriate mix of practical, therapeutic, educational and advocacy supports. The families will be well equipped for case planning and decision making. It is very important to have a well develop network between the health care experts and the families of the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders. Developing a better coordinating health care service for the sole purpose of the first Australians should be a priority (O’Donoghue et al. 2014). Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) is making efforts to bring a considerable amount of change in the lives of the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders. Not only healthcare issues but also issues like education, infrastructure, proper sanitation, transport, employment and other significant factors are being taken care of by the RDAA because all the factors are inter connected and interlinked. Providing them with basic necessities like housing, clean supply of water, proper sewerage, balanced and nutritious diet is the first step to ensure good health. Working with statutory child protection agencies and the locals will help in reaching the desired goals. By involving the local leaders in the healthcare department it will help the doctors and nurses to understand the requirements and needs of the first Australians (Geia, Hayes and Usher 2013). As mentioned earlier, a culturally respectful approach towards the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders will give them hope for a better and healthier future.
I believe that measures should be taken to retain medical practitioners and health care experts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders services. This can be achieved by providing acceptable remuneration and standard living and security conditions to the practitioners. Healthcare programs should also be included to encourage the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders to take up medicine and rural healthcare as a career choice. (Stephens 2014) Maintaining and building a healthy relationship with the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization (NACCHO) will be helpful for further studies and research in relation to the first Australians and also provide us with an insight to understand their problems and traumas.
After the completion of the course, I realized that it is so important to shed all, our preconceived notions and judgments. This course has given a better understanding of life too. It has broadened my perspective towards the “have not’s” of our society. It is of vital importance that we embrace the first Australians and lead them to their deserved position. No one, irrespective of their color, sex, caste, creed, origin and race should be discriminated and marginalized. Everyone deserves a healthy and long life be it the Aboriginals or the non-Aboriginals of Australia. Though there are still some Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders who do not want to compromise with their culture and heritage and settle in big metropolitan cities, there are many who are already settled and working there for years. We should not lose hope for a better future for the first Australians. The Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders still face grave danger when it comes to mental health issues, mortality rates, cardiac diseases, cancer, endocrine diseases and other severe health related problems. Thus, it should be dealt with utmost care and sensitivity. The main purpose of the caregiver should be to understand the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders both mentally and emotionally while assessing their physical ailments. I strongly believe that any patient can be cured if the doctors and the caregivers are emotionally involved with the patient providing constant support and reassurance.
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2. Fredericks, B., 2013. 'We don't leave our identities at the city limits': Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in urban localities. Australian Aboriginal Studies, (1), p.4.
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