from a range of providers across the health system over extended periods of time. Change must occur to deliver a sustainable health system that responds more effectively to chronic conditions. These figures influence health policy reform, increased expectation on the health care system calls for better trained practitioners and nurses alike, constant maintenance wages and fees and ever expanding hospitals as the population swells. (“Australian Health Brief 2018”, 2018)• Identify the health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience poorer health and have worse health outcomes than other Australians, with a burden of disease 2-3 times greater than the general Australian population. In addition, they are more likely to:Die at a younger age (mortality rates are around 5 times that for non-Indigenous people in the 35-44yrs age group)Experience disabilityReport their health as fair.(“Department of Health | Chronic Conditions”, 2018) Indigenous Australians are more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to have respiratory diseases, mental health problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
There is also a continued high occurrence of certain diseases – and resulting conditions – that are now virtually unknown in the non-Indigenous population. Notable among these are trachoma (a bacterial infection of the eye) and rheumatic heart disease. Due to the nature of living in a rural environment and high mortality rates, organ donation is limited at best. Alcohol, tobacco and illicit substances are widely used by Australians, although substance use plays a significant role in the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians when it comes to life expectancy and health. ‘Closing the Gap’ is a commitment by all Australian governments to improve the lives of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. It aims to close the gap of Indigenous disadvantage in areas such as health, housing, education and employment.