Indigenous Health Care

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Australia has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world. Because of this diversity in culture, health professionals must have a wide array of knowledge in respect to these cultures in order to provide a service to all cultures in a manner that is ethically correct. As the population of ethnically diverse people increases, particularly in relation to Indigenous Australians and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) people, the need for knowledge in the history of their healthcare, their experiences in healthcare and their health needs becomes more and more vital. Before the colonisation of Australia and the introduction of western views on health, Indigenous views on health were very different. The World Health Organisation,…show more content…
It was a widely held belief that Indigenous people were an inferior race and would eventually die out. Many policies enacted on them had a greatly detrimental effect upon their cultural heritage. Policies such as the forced Indigenous people off the land and into government reserves, the assimilation policy tried to force Indigenous people to adopt a Western lifestyle by giving up their traditional lifestyle and beliefs. They were expected to live and act like ‘white Australians’ but were denied equal wages, work conditions and welfare benefits received by other Australians. Other policies attempted to ‘breed-out’ Indigenous Australians by pairing an Indiginous individual with a white partner. These ‘half-castes’ where again viewed as inferior and often removed from government reserves and discouraged from interacting with Indigenous people, including their parents, in an attempt to remove the Indigenous culture from the general populace. These policies have created an enormous effect on the Indiginous experience of health. It has led to the loss of culture and identity to an entire generation of Indigenous people and therefore a severe lack of understanding of health amongst those affected. Further, many Indiginous Australians today still have deep seeded mistrust of Western medicine because of these historical factors. It is imperative that as a healthcare professional steps can be taken to ensure patients feel comfortable that the treatment offered to them has the best intentions in mind, as well as providing information about healthy lifestyles, whether more traditional or westernized, as much of this knowledge may have been

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