Medical care should be an equal right for every person. Every patient should be treated equally despite his or her background. However, this is not the case for Aboriginals in Australia who have limited access to healthcare. The following reflection paper indulges on the inequality experienced by Aboriginals to understand the reason it happens and ways this knowledge will impact my future nursing practices.
Racism has affected healthcare services in Australia since Aboriginals do not receive the same medical treatment as other cultures in the country. This has resulted in high motility rate in the community. It is estimated that rate aboriginal kids’ death is three times higher than other communities (Cameron, et al., 2014). Despite the government measures to reduce the level of chronic diseases infections, it is still high in the Aboriginal community, which has raised concerns in government. government statistics indicates that Aboriginal constitute 2.6% of the total country’s population where about 26% of them live in remote areas, and 43% live in regional areas (Eckerman et al., 2010). Aboriginal adults who seek medical attention always report poor medical services by nurses hence, lowering their confidence in the healthcare system. Another factor that limits the access to medical care is the high cost associated with the healthcare services such as transport (Durey, 2010). Most of the aboriginals live below the poverty line; it is difficult for them to access medical care since they do not have money to pay for the services. Aboriginal experience poor healthcare services, high infant mortality rate, short life expectancy, and poor health education.
There are various reasons why Aboriginal face inequality in healthcare services. The first reason is poor education. Research has showed that the level of education in the Aboriginal community is very low especially for those living in the rural areas. They do not understand the basic personal hygiene concepts that they can use to limit the infection rate of communicable diseases such cholera. Education plays a fundamental role in ensuring that the spread of a certain disease is limited (Eckerman et al., 2010). This lack of health education has exposed them to diseases. The second reason is lack of government efforts to support the community through the provision of quality healthcare services. Since most of them live in the rural areas where there are no healthcare facilities, they are unable to seek medical attention in time. This problem mainly affects pregnant women and girls who need a constant medical checkup and should give birth in a medical facility (Cameron, et al., 2014). Most aboriginal women give birth in their homes leaving them exposed to dangers associated with home child delivery. The newborn infants are not medically accessed, to determine their health status or vaccinated against some dangerous diseases like polio. Government policy makers have failed to build infrastructures in the area to ensure easy access to the rural areas for medical practitioners. The third factor is cultural barriers. Aboriginals have different cultural practices and language from other community (Durey, 2010). They language is also different making it difficult for them to communicate with other communities or access medical care. They experience culture shock when they access medical facility, which prevents them from ever again visiting a medical facility.
The fourth major factor of inequality in healthcare provision for Aboriginals is poverty. Most of them are unemployed hence lacking the income to support their medical expenses. The unemployment level for indigenous Australians is estimated to be five times higher compared to the non-Aboriginal community (Coffins, 2007). Lack of income affects those infected with HIV since they cannot afford the required diet and medication. They have to travel to seek medical attention, which is a major challenge for them since they do not have the money. Therefore, when they fall sick, they remain at home and seek treatment from herbal medicine. In addition, aboriginal lack appropriate shelter, which leave them exposed to cold in the cold season and extreme heat in the dry season. Lack of shelter exposes them to diseases that can be controlled through appropriate housing. Most infants die due severe weather condition coupled with poor housing. Poverty can be attributed to their eviction in the ancestral land where they were relocated to reserve with extreme inhuman conditions (Cameron, et al., 2014). The relocation did not factor thing like infrastructure and economic set-up of the community since they are restricted to the land they can poses. For those who relocated to urban areas, they have found it difficult to secure jobs. Due to their population increase in a limited space, they have been exposed to tuberculosis and other infectious diseases that are difficult to control in a populated area (Eckerman et al., 2010).
The final reason why they experience poor health services is due to racism. Research has showed that racism is an impediment to provisional of quality healthcare. Indigenous Australians experience both institutional and interpersonal racist behavior and attitude not only in healthcare but also in other sectors (Durey, 2010). They are the minority community in the country who experience inadequate medical services due to racial profiling in the society. The government ratified its laws based on United Nations Declaration on the fundamental rights of Aboriginals (Coffins, 2007). The aim of this law changes was to ensure that they received equal treatment in all sectors as other community members. However, despite the government efforts to reduce racism, the society is still reluctant to change.
The above information will information will impact on my nursing practices as a nurse in the country in various ways, which include: First, I will ensure that I live up to the ethical and value standards of a nurse, which requires one to treat every patient equally. I will ensure that any aboriginal who seeks my services will be treated in the same way as other patients. They have experienced healthcare inequality for a long time, and I believe it is time for all healthcare providers to ensure that this is changed. I will also encourage other nurses to ensure they do not discriminate their patients based on the racial background. I understand that some of the reason why they experience inequality in healthcare is beyond my help such as unemployment and poverty (Ann, 2009). However, I will in the future organize several medical camps in areas occupied by aboriginals to educate them and provide medical support. Low education level is another major setback for health care providers. I will ensure that some of the basic personal hygiene information is printed in a language that is easy and convenient for them to understand to ensure that the rate of infectious disease is low.
In conclusion, the level of healthcare inequality needs to be addressed quickly by all stakeholders to ensure that the indigenous Australians receive quality healthcare. This will reduce motility level and increase their life expectancy. In addition, it will improve their experience in a healthcare facility.