Jessica Hitchings S312503
S118: Community Assessment
The social determinants of health (SDH) describe various aspects that may contribute to the health and wellbeing of an individual or community. Specifically, the SDH explore the factors which indicate how people grow and age, how they learn and work and their ability to have equal access and opportunity. The SDH assessment circle (McMurray & Clendon, 2015) is a resource that can successfully be used to explore the health of the Indigenous Australian community. This report will assess research and present evidence using the SDH assessment circle to further explore the reasons for health inequity within the Indigenous Australian community.
The Indigenous Australian Community
Indigenous Australians are a community which makes up 3% of the total Australian population. Within this community, health and wellbeing inequities have been experienced for centuries and, as a consequence of colonisation, ‘continue to experience widespread socioeconomic and health disadvantage’ (AIHW, 2018). The average life expectancy for Indigenous Australians is approximately ten years less than for non-Indigenous Australians (HRC, 2018).
There are many factors of the SDH assessment circle that contribute to disadvantages experienced by Indigenous Australians. Primary focus may be placed upon education, employment, physical and social environments and health services in order to thoroughly explore areas that present a deep inequity.
Data from the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare shows that 60% of Indigenous Australian children are significantly behind non-Aboriginal children by the time they start year one and only 10% of Indigenous Australian children go on to complete year 12 (2017). Indigenous education in Australia has been the subject of ‘ongoing policy focus and repeated official inquiry’ as the nation strives to achieve equity for these students (Beresford, Gray, 2008).
Education of Indigenous Australians plays a vital role in achieving positive outcomes in many areas such as health and future employment, yet sadly, great barriers are steadily present. In rural or remote areas, Indigenous students’ first language is often not English, whereby this is less of a problem in urban and regional areas. Disengaged staff were another factor in educational disadvantage; “A good teacher is one who relates to the community and stays long enough to build up trust to encourage kids to stay at school” said Indigenous Rugby League player, Dean Widders (Hagan, Koori Mail, 2016).
Indigenous families who are unable to afford proper services to health will see their children suffer educational impacts as a result including high rates of sick days from schooling, and consequences such as ‘hearing loss, which have a profound impact upon learning needs’ (Hagan, Koori Mail, 2016).
The unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians is 4.2 times as high as the rate for non-Indigenous peo...