HSC CORE 1: HEALTH PRIORITES IN AUSTRALIA
How are priority issues in Australia’s health identified?
Measuring health status
Role of epidemiology: The role of epidemiology is defined as the study of rates and patterns of illness, disease and injury amongst specific population groups. The information collected is via hospital usage, health professionals and surveys. The identification of specific health trends is then used to establish health priorities, and to guide the decision-making, resource allocation and programs of all public and private sectors involved in health care and health promotion in Australia. There is a signification limitation of Epidemiology as it does not provide information about a person’s quality of life in a holistic sense, nor does it accurately describe the socio-cultural, socio-economic and environmental determinants of health. Measures of epidemiology
Morbidity (Prevalence and Incidence): refers to the patterns of illness, disease and injury that do not result in death. Prevalence is the number of existing cases of a specific disease or illness at any given time. Incidence is the number of new cases of a specific disease or illness over a set period. E.g. 20000 people in Australia infected with HIV and approximately 800 new diagnoses of HIV per year. Mortality: is the measure of the number of people within a specified population that died in any given year. E.g. Cardiovascular Disease accounted for 33.8% deaths in Australia in 2007. Infant Mortality: is the number of deaths in the first year of life. E.g. the infant mortality rate was 4.2 infant deaths per 1000 live births in 2007, and is decreasing at a steady rate. Life expectancy: is an estimate of the number of years a person can expect to live at any particular age. E.g. the life expectancy of a baby born in 2005 is 84 years if female and 79 years if male. Identifying Priority Health Issues
Social Justice Principles:
Equity: is the fair allocation of funding and resources. For example, GPs who bulk bill people with a Health Care Card Diversity: Australia has a diverse population and the needs of the population needs to met. Therefore, there needs to be sufficient health care services and facilities for all the diverse groups within Australia. Supportive environments: Australians have the right to be healthy and the environments needs to support this concept. This can be achieved through the cost, availability and ease of access. A prime example of how social justice principles can be seem in practice is through Medicare. Through Medicare, the right for all Australians to be healthy is acknowledge; we are provided with access to adequate health care at an affordable cost or no cost at all; epidemiology is used to promote equity by identifying health disadvantages that are experienced by some groups, and strategies are implemented to redress the inequities; and we are able to participate in promoting our own health through mechanisms such as seeking second opinions, negotiating treatment options with doctors and electing to adopt additional health cover through private health insurance if we choose. Medicare is equitable, caters for diversity and provides a supportive environment in which all people can have access to health care. Priority Population Groups: Priority population groups are the criterion for how best to spend money and distribute resources for health. Our population has subgroups of people who have significantly different health statuses, and somehow we must cater for all needs. Population groups that suffer health inequities include: ATSI’s and socio-economically disadvantage people etc Prevalence of Condition: is the rates and trends of morbidity and mortality that highlight problems of concern, and the allocations of funding and resources are directed accordingly. For example, the decrease in deaths from CVD can be attributed to effective health promotion strategies. However, increasing...
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