Primary Health Care for the Indigenous People

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Aboriginal people experience several tribulations that lead to reduced life expectancy. Addressing such health problems requires that the interested parties adopt suitable approaches that will maintain their health. Primary health care (PHC) emerges as the best approach for responding to Aboriginal people health concerns (Hurley, Baum, Johns et al. 2010, p. 147). As envisaged in the “1978 Alma Ata Declaration”, PHC facilitates the attainment of optimum populations’ health (Hurley et al. 2010, p. 147). The PHC framework remains suited to improving health needs among poor communities. This paper presents an analysis of the comment that “a primary health care approach is an appropriate conceptual framework for addressing the health needs of indigenous people” (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 166). It is paramount to mention that “Primary care is strategic, focusing on equity, access, empowerment and intersectoral partnerships as essential elements for maintaining health” (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 166). Furthermore, the analysis includes an assessment of the relationship between Aboriginal health, cultural safety and community empowerment.

Primary care entails transformation across the health care arrangement. It entails reorganizing the way infrastructure for offering healthcare works. Furthermore, it shuns the nearly overpowering attention on hospitals and remedial conducts (Talbot & Verrinder 2009, p. 121). This includes removing the obstacles that usually occur between healthcare workers and directing efforts towards the avoidance of ailments and injury in order to improve health. Primary care entails the identification, cure, and management of wellbeing issues through services offered by doctors. The primary care for Aboriginal people forms the initial contact with systems of care. PHC includes the primary care as well as recognizing and responding to the greater wellbeing determinants (Talbot & Verrinder 2009, p. 139). These comprise of population wellbeing, illness avoidance, and health support availed by doctors and other care providers.

Analyzing the View that Primary Care is tactical

Suitable approaches are needed to tackle the health problems that Aboriginal people experience. The Indigenous people survive in underprivileged societal settings relative to non Aboriginal communities (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 166). The heightened underprivileged levels left Aboriginal people with a massive life expectancy inequality and elevated death capacities than other Australians. Aboriginal people contract many chronic ailments from earlier ages while also showing thrice chances of suffering coronary illnesses than non Aboriginals (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 166). These conditions expose the Aboriginal people to the likelihood of visiting health institutions frequently a rate of five times more than other Australians. The Aboriginal people also suffer breathing tract ailments and injuries. They suffer worst kidney problems that cause them to seek dialysis treatment frequently than non-Aboriginals (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 166).

Aboriginal people’s youngsters equally display poor health right from their time of birth that escalates their demise rates. Several Aboriginal youngsters suffer various health problems associated with poor birth weight, undernourishment, and contagious ailments. Notably, Aboriginal youngster’s poor health emerges from additional household problems such as alcoholism, fights, and parental brain illnesses (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 166). It is these conditions that necessitate strategic healthcare capable of addressing the overwhelming health needs. Primary care has chances of responding to these health needs because it is strategic.

The notion that primary care is strategic emerges because of its precise nature basing on its importance towards responding to Aboriginal health. Offering vital healthcare to Aboriginal people using acceptable systems is tenable through primary care. This care system remains reachable to Aboriginal people’s families because it is offered to them with their involvement (Champion, Franks & Taylor 2008, p. 297). Furthermore, primary care being strategic emanates from the idea that costs involved in offering services are extremely diminished and affordable to Aboriginal people. The initial contact that Aboriginal people’s families and community come into with health systems takes place through doctors offering services to them locally (Rosewarne & Boffa 2004, p. 89). This is because primary care enables service providers to offer treatment to Aboriginal people within the community and near their households. These aspects confirm that argument that primary care is strategic.

Primary care is also strategic because it allows for the involvement of Aboriginal people in planning the healthcare. This escalates the magnitude of primary care to Aboriginal people who feel they own the healthcare services offered in their community. Indigenous people enhance the effectiveness of services they get by participating in primary care planning and offering (Champion, Franks & Taylor 2008, p. 297). The Aboriginal people’s involvement in primary care judgments improves their control over the quality procedures they receive. Furthermore, the participation empowers Aboriginal people because of increased power over several things that impact on their wellbeing (Tsey, Travers, Gibson et al. 2005, p. 17). Community empowerment and primary care remain pertinent in the perspective of Aboriginal people’s wellbeing. This is because of their associations to the ideas of self resolve, community, and emotional health that are significant in enhancing Aboriginal people wellbeing (Tsey et al. 2005, p. 17).

Community empowerment originates from the indigenous people’s involvement in primary care enhances the success of such programs. This is because Aboriginal people approach primary care from the community through developing abilities to address certain problems such as household violence (Tsey et al. 2005, p. 21). Aboriginal people involvement in the creation of policies that guide service delivery increases the strategic notion of primary care. Furthermore, their participation informs the generation of situational and tailored primary care policies that consequently responds to Aboriginal people’s health needs (Mathews, Pulver & Ring 2008, p. 618).

The primary care physicians offering services to Aboriginal people are exposed to cultural safety issues that consequently increases strategic notion of the program. Cultural safety entails reorganizing the preparation of primary care professionals, integrating artistic awareness and aptitude. It also entails increasing comprehension of colonial systems and their influence on present health care programs basing on the Aboriginal people (Sherwood & Edwards 2006, p. 180). The trainings that primary care service providers gain from diverse areas have aspects of colonization of the Aboriginal people and its associated repercussions. This offers such professionals opportunities to gain insights regarding the full perspective of Aboriginal health. Comprehending issues such as land dispossession, hunger, prejudice, and social segregation and their impacts on Aboriginal health informs primary care (Sherwood & Edwards 2006, p. 181).

The success of primary care offered to Aboriginal people relies on the level of integration of indigenous understanding into the short-term and future health agenda. Cultural safety remains critical in attaining health improvement for the Aboriginal people (Sherwood & Edwards 2006, p. 181). This is because health policies, service giver tactics that encompass cultural consciousness of the Aboriginal people, research, and healthcare schemes have a bearing on primary care. Notably, the argument that primary care is strategic can only be realized through allowing the Aboriginal people’s thoughts and knowledge to inform the practice (Sherwood & Edwards 2006, p. 185).

Analysis of the view that primary care focuses on equity and access

The understanding of Aboriginal health informs that adoption of primary care to respond to the demonstrated needs. Primary care main focus concerns attaining equity in Aboriginal people’s healthcare programs. In healthcare, equity aspects can be observed through health, services offered, and health financial funds (Song, Kelaher, Anderson & Carter 2009, p. 3). Health equity entails minimizing preventable unfairness and its associated determinants such as healthcare provision between populations that have unequal levels of social privileges. This reflects the situation that underpins Aboriginal health, which draws from the social exclusion and inequalities that Aboriginal people face (Rosewarne & Boffa 2004, p. 90). The equity concern in services offered to populations entails ensuring that everyone receives care with reference to needs. The healthcare received must be based on some minimum standard designed through policies. Equity regarding healthcare monetary funding entails ensuring that funds allocated to diverse programs in various populations is equal to their health needs (Rosewarne & Boffa 2004, p. 90).

Primary care significantly augments chances for attaining equity in the delivery of healthcare to Aboriginal people. This is because Aboriginal people participate in primary care through their community controlled health services (CCHS) that enable everyone from the society to access healthcare (Cunningham 2006, 580). Furthermore, Aboriginal Health Workers (AHW) that offer services gain contact with community members consequently enhancing equity attainment (Cunningham 2006, 581). This augments the opportunities for Aboriginal people to access care procedures generated by primary care.

Primary care enhances the attainment of equity through the involvement of Aboriginal people generating initiatives for delivering healthcare. The initiatives include the “Continuous Improvement Projects” and the “Audit and Best Practice for Chronic Disease Project” (Bailie, Sibthorpe, Gardner et al 2008, p. 53). Furthermore, the uptake of the “Healthy for Life Program” and the “National Primary Care Collaboratives” created through primary care activities enable Aboriginal people to gain healthcare access (Bailie et al. 2008, p. 53). These initiatives contribute entirely to the realization of improved healthcare to the Aboriginal adults and youngsters.

Primary care enables equity in financial funding for the proviso of healthcare through campaigns advanced by diverse groups. Consequently, such campaigns pressurized the government to establish the “National Aboriginal Health Council” (NAHC) responsible for sourcing for monetary support (Rosewarne & Boffa 2004, p. 91). The campaigns undertaken by community groups created monumental force that further caused the shifting of health funds to local organizations. Cultural safety also enables the attainment of equity because specialists have accumulated acquaintance regarding Aboriginal health (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 168). Offering ethnically sensitive care to the Aboriginal people also improves the equity. The ability of Aboriginal people to access the culturally responsive care takes place in the urban and remote areas.

Analysis of the Comment that Primary Care Promotes Community Empowerment

Addressing Aboriginal people’s health needs continues through community empowerment facilitated by primary care. Indigenous people’s involvement in primary care activities contributes to their empowerment. This happens through adopting lifestyles that healthcare workers advice them to embrace. The Aboriginal people are empowered to engage in bodily exercise, reduced intake of takeaway, and eating of bush foods (Burgess, Berry, Gunthorpe et al. 2008, p. 19). Notably, these diminish the chances of developing certain diseases associated with unhealthy eating habits.

Primary care enables Aboriginal people to take part through community controlled programs. The framework of principal care enhances the efforts to tackle social problems and the underpinning health determinants. Primary care model emerges as an inclusive method that benefit from Aboriginal people participation (Pyett, Crowe & Strerren 2008, p. 179). The notion of community control is crucial to the participatory method advanced through primary care that consequently empowers society members. The participation of Aboriginal people in the writing of healthcare policies also enhances their capacity expand control of their primary care.

Primary care has increased Aboriginal people’s community competence because of the empowerment gained from involvement in healthcare activities. This is because the Aboriginal people exude the capacity to recognize and tackle their health problems. The determination of community competency, which results from empowerment, occurs in view of shifts that take place within the society (Talbot & Verrinder 2009, p. 137). Primary care provision also encourages the participation of Aboriginal people targeted by the services in decision making. The participatory system allows the community to destroy power relations that hinder the delivery of primary care (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 170).

The participation center on cultural relativism that within the primary care framework is essential in the development of communal aptitude. Primary care approach empowers healthcare workers to partner local Aboriginal people in order to generate decisions regarding health needs (McMurray & Param 2008, p. 170). The Aboriginal people empowerment basing on primary care occurs because of their intrinsic relationship with their social and ecological surroundings. This ensures that they have the power to dictate the healthcare they are receiving. According to McMurray & Param (2008, p. 170), healthcare workers are not responsible for offering culture specific services on their own. Care workers partner the Aboriginal people in planning and offering societal suitable care through classless associations. In this scenario, the Aboriginal people empowerment enhances their cultural competence that consequently assists in delivering the appropriate care.

Analysis of the Comment that Primary Care Promotes Intersectoral Partnerships

The nature of Aboriginal health remains intricate that single efforts cannot attain results in offering suitable care to the people. The collaborations frequently emerge between community managed service and ordinary healthcare activities to tackle the indigenous people health need (Crespigny, Kowanko, Murray et al. 2006, p. 280). Addressing some of the Aboriginal health needs requires diverse resources that healthcare workers may lack. This informs the need for players in primary care to join efforts necessary for responding to the health needs. The partnerships created by different players tackle Aboriginal health problems through respect towards history, tradition, health perception among others (Crespigny et al. 2006, p. 280). Furthermore, partnerships stimulate participation from Aboriginal people consequently enhancing the responsiveness of healthcare offered. Participation in primary care contains aspects of action orientation and attaining focused results. Additionally, the participation occurs under egalitarian settings that promote Aboriginal people’s empowerment and appropriateness in healthcare outcomes (Crespigny et al. 2006, p. 280).

Creation of multi sector associations for tackling Aboriginal health enhances the chances of meeting healthcare needs. The need to offer cultural safe care to Aboriginal people is only tenable through collaborations. Furthermore, such partnerships enhance the provision of locally appropriate services that match the indigenous people’s needs (Crespigny et al. 2006, p. 280). The multi sector collaborations sustain the integration of Aboriginal and non-indigenous peoples services to work mutually in order to generate better healthcare outcomes. It is noteworthy that primary care offered to indigenous people needs monitoring and appraisals in order to identify areas that require upgrading (Crespigny et al. 2006, p. 280).

The need for initiating partnerships to enhance Aboriginal people’s response to health needs have massive significance. Associations created enables relay of appropriate communication regarding primary care. Players from diverse sectors also join to set shared goals and means of resolving challenges (Crespigny et al. 2006, p. 280). Notably, the role of mutual decision making in tackling Aboriginal health needs through primary care is also remarkably crucial. The collaborating groups frequently engage in research that improves the care services offered to the indigenous people (Wolfe 2006, p. 160). Such researches are undertaken health or educational institutions specializing in offering primary care.

The collaborations initiated by players in primary care undertake advocacy work that enable them influence government agencies to act towards improving healthcare provision (Crespigny et al. 2006, p. 280). The pressure that originates from associations that have a shared goal frequently influences the government to confer with indigenous populations regarding their views on healthcare. These views offer contributions to government during documentation of policy relevant for offering healthcare programs (Humphreys, Lyle, Wakerman, et al. 2000, p. 128). Furthermore, healthcare works collaborate through sharing knowledge during capacity building sessions consequently generating thoughts that improve their programs (Hooper, Thomas & Clarke 2007, P. 48)


In summary, primary care is the most suitable system for offering healthcare to Aboriginal people. This is because it is strategic and responds to their health needs appropriately. The strategic nature of such care also ensures the involvement of Aboriginal people in planning and offering healthcare. Their involvement allows the comprehension of the social and ecological environment that surrounds them. Consequently, this improves Aboriginal people’s cultural competence and empowerment necessary for decision making basing on the means of offering healthcare programs. This enhances the chances of offering culturally appropriate services that tackles the health needs of the Aboriginal people. Primary care shifts attention to equity and escalates the ability of Aboriginal people to access care programs. Primary care enhances collaboration because the effectiveness and quality of healthcare delivered depends on the capacity of offering institutions. Partnerships created by multi sector agencies and groups increases chances of offering services that can improve Aboriginal people’s health.

List of References

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Burgess, C, Berry, H, Gunthorpe, W & Bailiel, R 2008, ‘Development and preliminary validation of the ‘Caring for Country’ questionnaire: measurement of an Indigenous Australian health determinant’, International Journal for Equity in Health, vol. 7, no. 26, pp. 1-14.

Champion, S, Franks, C & Taylor, J 2008, ‘Increasing Community Participation in an Aboriginal Health Service’, Australian Journal of Rural Health, Vol. 16, pp. 297- 301.

Crespigny, C, Kowanko, I, Murray, H, Wilson, S, Kit, J & Mills, D 2006, ‘ A Nursing Partnership for Better Outcomes in Aboriginal Mental Health, Including Substance Use’, Contemporary Nurse, Vol. 22, pp. 275-287.

Cunningham, J 2006, ‘Diversity of Primary Health Care Providers for Urban Indigenous Australians’, Australian Journal of Primary Health, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 580-581.

Hooper, K., Thomas, Y & Clarke, M 2007, ‘Health professional partnerships and their impact on Aboriginal health: An occupational therapist’s and Aboriginal health worker’s perspective’, Australian Journal of Rural Health, Vol. 15, PP. 46–51.

Humphreys, J, Lyle, D, Wakerman, J, Chalmers, E, Wilkinson, D, Walker, J, Simmons, D & Larson, A 2000, ‘Roles and Activities of the Commonwealth Government University Departments of Rural Health’, Australian Journal of Rural Health, Vol. 8, pp. 120–133.

Hurley, C, Baum, F, Johns, J & Labonte, R 2010, ‘Comprehensive Primary Health care in Australia: Findings from a Narrative Review of the Literature’, Australian Medical Journal, Vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 147-152.

Mathews, A, Pulver, L & Ring, T 2008, ‘Strengthening the link between polic formulation and implementation of Indigenous health policy directions’, Australian Health Review, Vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 613-625.

McMurray, A & Param, R 2008, ‘Culture Specific Care for Indigenous People: A Primary Health Care Perspective’, Contemporary Nurse, Vol. 28, Iss, 1-2, pp. 165-172.

Pyett, P, Crowe, P & Strerren, A 2008, ‘Challenging our own practices in Indigenous health promotion and research’, Health Promotion Journal of Australia, vol. 19, no.3, pp. 179-183.

Rosewarne, C & Boffa, J 2004, ‘an analysis of the Primary Health Care Access Program in theNorthern Territory: A major Aboriginal health policy reform’, Australian Journalof PrimaryHealth, Vol. 10, no.3, pp. 89-100.

Sherwood, J & Edwards, T 2006, ‘Decolonisation: A Critical Step for Improving Aboriginal Health’, Contemporary Nurse, Vol. 22, pp. 178-190.

Song, K, Kelaher, M, Anderson, A & Carter, R 2009, ‘A cost-based equity weight for use in the economic evaluation of primary health care interventions: case study of the Australian Indigenous population’, International Journal for Equity in Health, Vol. 8, no. 34, pp. 1-14

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Tsey, K, Travers, H, Gibson, T, Whiteside, M, James, Y, Haswell, M, McCalman, J & Wilson, A 2005, ‘The role of empowerment through life skills development in building comprehensive primary health care systems in Indigenous Australia’, Australian Journal of Primary Health, Vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 16-21.

Wolfe, B 2006, ‘Advances in contemporary mental health nursing: A continuous process’, Cotemporary Nurse, Vol. 21, pp. 160-162.

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