How are priority issues for Australia’s health identified? Australia is one of the healthiest countries in the world; however, Australia’s population still experiences a range of health problems. The challenge for the Australian government is to allocate a limited amount of resources to address these health problems. This means that priorities need to be established. The Australian government has chosen to use a framework of priority health issues to achieve this. Epidemiology plays an important role, however issues such as social justice, potential for prevention and costs are also important.
How are priority issues for Australia’s health identified? Measuring health status
Epidemiology is the study of the frequency and distribution of a disease within a population and the attempt to identify the cause(s) of that disease. Collecting, verifying and analysing data about the incidence of disease in a given population gives researchers, health department officials and governments, indicators of the existence of health problems in a community. Some of the health indicators used to describe the health status of a population include mortality (death) rates, morbidity (illness) rates, life expectancy, and infant mortality rates. These indicators can also provide patterns of disease in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and educational opportunity. This level of data allows public health authorities to manage, evaluate and plan for health services to prevent, control and treat diseases and health problems (Australasian Epidemiological Association). Epidemiological information is used by health professionals and by the government to develop policies and health promotion strategies that promote the health of individuals in the community.
How are priority issues for Australia’s health identified? Identifying priority health issues
The determination of priorities for health spending can be very challenging. Different people in the community will take different perspectives. The Australian government has determined that along with epidemiology, the following considerations are important.
This means that it is not simply morbidity and mortality rates that determine Australia’s health priority issues. There are a range of factors that need to be considered. For example, groups who are identified as experiencing significant health issues such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need significant support and resources to address any health inequities that exist.
Social justice principles (RAPE, DES)
Social justice means that the rights of all people in our community are considered in a fair and equitable manner. While equal opportunity targets everyone in the community, social justice targets the marginalised and disadvantaged groups of people in our society. Public policies should ensure that all people have equal access to health care services. People living in isolated communities should have the same access to clean water and sanitation as a person living in an urban area. People of a low socioeconomic background should receive the same quality health services that a person in a higher socioeconomic income receives. Information designed to educate the community must be provided in languages that the community can understand. A focus on social justice aims to social justice is to reduce the level of health inequalities in Australia. The four principles of social justice are equity, access, participation and rights. Social justice is what faces you in the morning. It is awakening in a house with an adequate water supply, cooking facilities and sanitation. It is the ability to nourish your children and send them to a school where their education not only equips them for employment, but reinforces their knowledge and understanding of their cultural inheritance. It is the prospect of genuine employment and good health: a life of...