Factors contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ill health and common diseases There are a variety of things in Australia which can contribute to the onset of the above diseases and conditions. While they apply to everyone, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people tend to have higher rates of them. Factors contributing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's ill health include: ➢History of European/Aboriginal contact ➢Loss of culture, land, identity and Indigenous law ➢Loss of family links ➢Geographical remoteness ➢Lack of relevant and culturally appropriate education ➢Lack of meaningful employment or occupation ➢Lack of relevant health knowledge ➢Food and nutrition ➢Smoking
➢Alcohol and substance abuse ➢Mental stress ➢Poor maternal health ➢Feelings of isolation and vulnerability and being culturally unsafe ➢Violence ➢Environmental health factors (housing, sewerage, water supply, hygiene) ➢Late presentation, diagnosis and treatment. These things can be attributed to a wide range of external factors, which include: ➢Low income ➢Lack of education ➢Unemployment➢High stress ➢Poor social networks and support ➢Poor working and living conditions ➢Gender inequalities ➢Behavioural problems (mental conditions). Increasing participation in health service delivery As part of an overall goal of cultural inclusiveness, you should look at increasing the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in health service delivery. This means giving them active roles in decision making and employing more of them within in health service industry. Strategies to increase participation in health service delivery may include: ➢Consultation with community representatives ➢Community participation in decision making processes at all levels. Consultation with community representatives This will allow you identify the key issues and priorities that may improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Representatives can put across the general opinions and views of their community and gather them for you. This allows you to get a feel of the issues that are most important to a particular community and which you can reasonably address. Community participation in decision making processes at all levels Involving people in the community (not just officials and representatives) gives an opportunity for the voices of everyone to be heard. There should be a medium/process for you to engage with people in the
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, whether it is them contacting you or vice versa. Things like surveys, polls, email and censuses are useful forums for discussion with the wider community on a range of issues.