Collonization On Aboriginal Health

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Ever since the foundations of modern Australia were laid; there has been a disparity between the health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and rest of the Australian community (Australian human rights commission, n.d.). This essay will discuss how this gap can be traced back to the discriminatory policies enacted by governments towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s throughout history. Their existing impacts will be examined by considering the social determinants of health. These are the contemporary psycho-social factors which indirectly influence health (Kingsley, Aldous, Townsend, Phillips & Henderson-Wilson, 2009). It will be evaluated how the historic maltreatment of Aboriginal people leads to their existing predicament concerning health. In order to understand the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal health; it is important to recognize their worldview or set of beliefs on health (Tilburt, 2010). They practice a “holistic” approach unlike the Western Biomedical model where health is centred on biological functioning (Lock, 2007). According to this model the essence of being healthy relies on the mental, spiritual and social well-being rather than the absence of an illness (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). It is closely linked to spiritual and environmental factors; the heart of which is country, tradition and kinship. Land is a source of identity and spirituality for indigenous people (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). Kinship manages connection to land as well as ceremonial obligations and interpersonal relationships (Hampton & Toombs, 2013). For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders a healthy person consists of physical and spiritual elements. It’s evident that colonisation eroded the structures upon which Indige... ... middle of paper ... ...s even harder due to the distance and cost. In 2008 Indigenous children were less likely to be immunised and Indigenous people were 5 times more likely to be hospitalized for illnesses that could be prevented by timely medical intervention (Australian human rights commission, 2008a). In conclusion the colonisation of Australia and the adoption of discriminatory policies eroded Aboriginal culture and tradition affecting their sense of well-being and thus deteriorated their health. Today these policies are reflected in the social determinants of health as socio-economic disadvantages. They continue to impact contemporary Aboriginal people. In order to improve Aboriginal health outcomes; the impacts of these policies need to be overturned. This can be done by assisting them with improving their socio-economic status in the light of their needs and traditions.

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