Home Health 6 Serious Health Issues That Indigenous Australians Are Facing

6 Serious Health Issues That Indigenous Australians Are Facing

Indigenous Australians pertain to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders found in Australia. They comprise 3.3% of the population and have been around since before British colonization. With over 250 languages, indigenous Australians have a rich culture and history that dates back over 100,000 years.

Unfortunately, there are factors that affect the overall health of indigenous Australians, resulting in more cases of medical conditions, occurrences of relatively unknown diseases to the non-indigenous population, and a much lower life expectancy rate.

The gap for the latter, in fact, stands at 8.6 years for males while indigenous females expect to live 7.8 years less than those who are not. While recent years have narrowed this gap, there is still a lot to improve upon when it comes to health care and awareness to further make this difference become more acceptable.

Social Determinants that Caused Health Concerns in Indigenous Australians

Indigenous Australians suffer from several disadvantages which result in a generally poorer state of health when compared to other Australians. These affect multiple areas of their way of life, but the following listed below have the most impact:

  • Lack of access to quality health care
  • Overcrowding
  • Lack of access to clean water
  • Substance abuse
  • Lack of health care awareness and education
  • High crime and incarceration rates

The factors mentioned above is the reason for the increased hospitalization rate for indigenous Australians, with non-indigenous people going to hospitals 2.5 times lower than Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.

What are the Common Health Issues of Indigenous Australians?

Listed below are the most common health conditions experienced by indigenous Australians. Whenever available, the core reasons for the sharp incline are also discussed.

Trachoma

Trachoma is a bacterial infection that affects the eye. Due to repeated infections, this can lead to blindness. Trachoma s considered as the fourth leading cause of blindness among Indigenous Australians. In fact, studies have shown than 30% of the people have symptoms of trachoma, primarily children.

Improper hygiene, especially when living in unsanitary and dusty locations, is the main cause of trachoma. This disease, however, is treatable and preventable, although indigenous Australians are somewhat limited in getting care for this condition.

Rheumatic Heart Disease

Rheumatic fever is a condition that occurs due to complications from diseases such as strep throat or scarlet fever. These diseases are highly treatable but can do long term damage to the heart if not taken care of.  In the worst cases, rheumatic heart disease may develop. Joint pain, difficulty in breathing, and rashes may also appear during bouts of rheumatic fever.

Rheumatic heart disease places a heavy medical burden in Australia. For indigenous Australians, at least 2% have this condition. They are also more likely to get this condition by more than 69 times than non-indigenous Australians. Lack of awareness of the disease and reduced access to treatment are mostly to blame for this situation.

Respiratory Diseases

Indigenous Australians suffer from respiratory-related illnesses at a much higher rate than other Australians. Conditions such as asthma, pneumonia, and COPD from these demographics have a high mortality rate, and they place a high disease burden to the country as well.

Causes for this situation include by poor and unsanitary conditions, smoking, and malnutrition. Older people are at a much higher risk of dying due to these conditions, but all age groups are affected, especially those who are current smokers.

Mental Health Problems

Overcrowding, discrimination, abuse during childhood, and exposure to crimes and violence are the main reasons why mental disorders are high among indigenous Australians. Substance abuse by the individual or by those belonging within the person’s social circle is also to blame.

The most common mental conditions experienced by indigenous Australians include anxiety disorders, depression, PTSD, and substance abuse. With incidences of self-harm and suicides being double of the non-indigent population, mental health issues surrounding indigenous Australians are very troublesome indeed.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease can be caused by a variety of reasons such as a poor diet, alcohol abuse, as well as those with conditions such as diabetes, chronic heart disease. CKD is difficult to treat and may require transplants or regular dialysis treatments if the condition progresses.

Chronic kidney disease among indigenous Australians is two to three times higher than the rest of the population. This is troubling especially since indigenous Australians only make up less than four percent of the total population. They are also four times more likely to die,

While CKD is also quite common with the non-indigenous population, Aboriginals and Torres Strait islanders do not have the same access to health care facilities and specialists which is the reason for their diseases progressing at a much faster rate.

Infectious Diseases

Overcrowding lack of sanitary facilities and a lack of vaccination initiatives and education about the communicable disease has caused numerous incidences of infection among locations where indigenous Australians are found. The most common infections experienced by the population include the following:

  • Fungal infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Whooping cough
  • Influenza
  • HIV
  • Strep throat

The difference in infection rates between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians differ from disease to disease. However, data acquired through the years would indicate that the latter group does have higher incidences regardless of the disease.

How to Close the Gap

In order to improve health care among indigenous Australians, the government has implemented the Closing the Gap initiative, a strategy that aims to improve the lives and reduce the disadvantage of the indigenous population in the country.

While some areas with relation to their targets have improved, there is still a long way to go to reduce the difference, especially with regards to access to health care and increasing life expectancy. General education and increasing employment rates are also top priority due to their link to better health. Other initiatives and programs are geared towards building hospitals and implementing telemedicine, improving housing and sanitation, and implementing vaccination programs. The government hopes that these strategies will help improve the situation of indigenous Australians and reduce the health issues being experienced by the population.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

How Much Do Doctors Make?

The medical profession is one of the most highly regarded professions all over the world. People highly value doctors and their contribution...

How Much Do Surgeons Make?

Doctors are often thought to be one of the highest-paid professionals in Australia. This assumption is not wrong at all. Surgeons, in...

What to Do When Doctors Can’t Diagnose You?

Whenever we feel like something is wrong with our bodies, we often turn to our doctors for help. For the most part,...

Top Medical Universities in the World

Deciding on the career to pursue is both liberating and grueling. However, when you’ve settled with your purpose and choice, it will...

Top Medical Journals

Medicine is a vast area, and there is an enormous number of research and clinical trials carried over worldwide. That said, it...

Top Medical Device Companies in Australia

With the ongoing global health threat across the globe, including the prevalent pre-existing illnesses that have been going over for decades to...

What Do Doctors Do For Broken Ribs

It is irrefutable that each part of our body, internally and externally, comes with a purpose and function. The ribcage is among...

Why Do Doctors Have Bad Handwriting

Whether it’s penning down a message, taking notes, or completing a form, handwriting is an essential part of our daily activities. Hence,...

Controversial Medical Issues

By nature, learning and discovering new things stir up controversies and disagreements. They raise questions and doubts. But more importantly, they lead...

How to Keep a Clinic or Practice Sterile – Tips for Disinfecting, so Clients Won’t Spread Diseases

In reality, keeping a clinic or practice sterile is not an easy task. Maintaining a facility free from all kinds of living...

Accounting for Medical Practices – How to Maintain Your Books

Accounting plays a crucial role in the world of businesses. Accounting for medical practices is as vital as the rest of the...

How to Start a Surgery Practice for Young Doctors

Starting a private surgical practice is exciting, especially for young doctors out there.  Nothing feels more enthralling and challenging as health care...

How to Start Private Consulting for Doctors and Surgeons

Starting a private consulting for doctors and surgeons is exhilarating as they have greater freedom and higher chances of earning more than...

Why is SEO for Medical Practices So Important?

A business will need clients so that they can remain in business. It is a simple fact that applies to all companies,...

Knowing About Privacy Policies for Medical Practices in Australia

Patients of doctors and medical practices have the right to privacy and confidentiality. Medical practices that break rules regarding privacy may be...

Facebook Ads for Medical Practices

There are many ways by which you can now advertise online, and Facebook is a social media platform that trumps out the...

Tips to Use Instagram for Medical Practices

Almost 80 million photos are being posted on Instagram each day. These come from celebrities, influencers, and regular people as well. However,...

Starting a Medical Practice Checklist

So you want to start your own medical practice? Congratulations! Having a private practice can be very rewarding in many ways. However,...

Types of Insurance That You Need to Have for Your Medical Practice

Insurance is a very important thing to have both personally and in business. This is especially true if you have a medical...

How to Develop Content Marketing Materials for Your Medical Practice

Content marketing is the future of online marketing. The trend now is no longer about just plain sales and marketing materials that...

Social Media Marketing for Medical Practices

Social media is a very powerful tool for reaching a very wide audience. It serves many purposes, but it all leads to...

Why Do You Need to Use Digital Marketing for Your Medical Practice?

The goal of any business, whether it be a medical practice or otherwise, is to gain profit. To gain profit, aside from...

How to Create a Business Plan for Medical Practice

If you want to create your own medical practice, know that it can be a very difficult process. However, it's only the...

The Relevance of Bookkeeping for Medical Practices

A hospital or medical practice’s main function is to provide quality health care to patients, and everything else is secondary. Being able...

How to Effectively Do Marketing For Medical Practice

We currently live in a world where marketing is king. How you handle your marketing can determine your client share in the...