Healthcare disparities in the Aboriginal community

You are asked to listen and observe Russell Nelly (Vodcast Worshop 10 – week 12). – the
reading which supports this workshop is the last chapter of the book on the topic of
Empowerment and this information will assist you in recognising what empowers you
as much as empowerment for Aboriginal people.
Try to ‘wear 2 hats’ while you listen to Russell – listen as a member of your general
community and also as a future health professional.
While you listen to him, can you pick up on key issues you have covered throughout the
last 10 weeks? For example, the concept of *identity and Russell’s experiences – as a
baby, as a little boy, as a youth and as an adult? Identity changes over time; in the
obvious such as from baby to maturation to the not so obvious, i.e. in response to the
external environment (remember the Chapter on Cultural Vitality?) The external
environment may include, but is not limited to: laws, social capital, cultural-gender,
*Identity is something that all of you can relate to!
Russell’s experiences are the lived experience of the Stolen Generations – how has this
impacted his health? (understand the holistic term)
With your personal hat on, have any of the experiences that Russell shares with you
have any link to your own experiences – yes/no? why?
What is important to him? What is important to you?
Can you use this knowledge to help you as a health practitioner (remember to let your
reader know what you are studying) and how?
You have been asked to use references – this is critical so that your observations &
considerations are supported by evidence which links those issues in Russell’s story to
how these have had a direct impact on his health and well-being.

Summary of case study – Indigenous health

Summary of case study – Indigenous health
Healthcare disparities in the Aboriginal community
Mr Nelly recalls all the challenges he went through living as an Aboriginal. He was
removed from the parent care as a toddler. Throughout the scenario, Mr. Nelly recalls his
life, where he describes that the most painful significant part of his life is his separation from
his parents, his kin and also his culture. Throughout his child hood, he felt neglected and felt
that he was not worthy living, a low self-esteem that made him indulge in risky behaviours
such as drug abuse. He says that despite the fact that he was kind hearted, not pleased with
violence actions, he recalls that there was time in his life where this was the only behaviour
that he could have used, as an escape mechanism to protect himself. This is the time in life
when he felt had a resting place, an anchor or a relationship that he could trust or rely upon.
This act of rejection made him hurt immensely (Healey & Lesneski, 2011).
Analysis of the scenario
According to his interview, the underlying cause of the disparities in the indigenous health is
associated with the social as well as economic exclusion. There is high rate of
unemployment, low economic, which includes nutrition. These only make the indigenous
suffering, and have less access to health care services. Additionally, health services in this
region lack cultural sensitivity, which makes them unwelcoming for most of the indigenous
people. This is observed in even in the healthcare workforce is disproportionate as compared
to the non-indigenous population. The government fails to address the root causes of these
disparities which include racism, discrimination, poor education, poor health services and an
appalling housing condition (Gubhaju et al., 2015).
From the scenario, it is evident that the health status of the indigenous people has been
struggling from improving health. Since time in memorial, the gaps between the healthcare

Summary of case study – Indigenous health
statuses of the aboriginal people have continued to grow wide. As indicated by the social
determinants theory, the community health is influenced by interconnection between many
other factors. From the scenario, the health inequality is influenced by the poor
infrastructures in the community. There is no healthy housing, poor feeding and sanitation as
compared to the non –indigenous. Therefore if there is need to address these social
determinants in order to improve the indigenous health status (Noble et al., 2015).
The beautiful thing about Mr. Nelly is that with time, he has learnt to put his worries and
anger aside. He has an undying spirit and is willing to help his community, to ensure that
none of the children undergo the challenges that he went through. Through the separation he
went through, he was bitter that has he lost his cultural identity and self esteem, which he
would not wish to his younger siblings. In the interview, he is willing to work together with
the government to help build the community, and to reduce healthcare disparities, thus
empower aboriginal communities (Yi et al., 2015).
Some of the facts that I can relate with the information from the scenario is the inequality
and discrimination of the Aboriginal, when it comes to delivery of care. This is evidenced by
the fact that Mr. Nelly’s parents were not allowed to deliver their son in a healthcare facility
like the other non-indigenous. The main reason for the inequality and disparities is associated
with low socioeconomic status. As indicated in the scenario, most Aboriginal community
socio economic activities place them at a greater risk of exposure to environmental risks.
Little has been done to reduce this inequality (Gubhaju et al., 2015).
Empowerment of the aboriginal community
As a future healthcare professional, I understand that it is my responsibility to emphasize the
government to establish fundamental principles that will help the government’s policy
making processes. This is to ensure that the indigenous people are not discriminated, but
rather are provided with equal opportunity, by recognising the cultural statuses, which are

Summary of case study – Indigenous health
distinct to the Aboriginal community. The government and the stakeholders must identify
legitimate and non-discriminatory programs that are specific for this community, developed
with the aim of addressing the issue of inequalities. The healthcare professional are obliged
to ensure equal allocation of resources, in order to ensure that the government respect, and
protects the community from harmful discriminative acts, through the introduction of
measures that help the community respect each other (McKenna et al., 2015).
Criteria to guide the health policy and program strategies must be developed in a way to
ensure that the healthcare services delivered in the community are appropriate, accessible and
available. This will require working in partnership with the indigenous people, to ensure that
the issues are addressed in a manner that upholds cultural sensitivity, by identifying solutions
that will ensure that the goals identified are achieved within the defined time frame. This will
avoid mismanagement of resources that was evident in the missionary institutions that were
put together to raise the standards of the aboriginal people, but instead resulted to harsh
centres that mistreated young and vulnerable children such as Mr. Nelly (Yi et al., 2015).

Summary of case study – Indigenous health
Gubhaju, L., Banks, E., MacNiven, R., McNamara, B., Joshy, G., Bauman, A., & Eades, S.
(2015). Physical Functional Limitations among Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Older
Adults: Associations with Socio-Demographic Factors and Health. PLOS ONE, 10(9),
Healey, B., & Lesneski, C. (2011). Transforming public health practice. San Francisco:
McKenna, B., Fernbacher, S., Furness, T., & Hannon, M. (2015). “Cultural brokerage”
and beyond: piloting the role of an urban Aboriginal Mental Health Liaison Officer.
BMC Public Health, 15(1).
Noble, N., Paul, C., Turner, N., Blunden, S., Oldmeadow, C., & Turon, H. (2015). A cross-
sectional survey and latent class analysis of the prevalence and clustering of health risk
factors among people attending an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.
BMC Public Health, 15(1).
Yi, K., Landais, E., Kolahdooz, F., & Sharma, S. (2015). Factors Influencing the Health and
Wellness of Urban Aboriginal Youths in Canada: Insights of In-Service Professionals,
Care Providers, and Stakeholders. Am J Public Health, 105(5), 881-890.

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