Health of Indigenous Peoples

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This essay seeks to demonstrate that whilst Indigenous health policy may have been on the Australian public policy agenda since the1960s, the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health has remained. A brief description of the lives of Indigenous Australians prior to the colonisation of Australia is given, followed by a description of various policies that have been introduced by the Australian government to combat these inequalities. This essay demonstrates why these policies have been inadequate, in turn highlighting why the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge in creating Indigenous health policies is important. This essay closes with a brief examination of the Closing the Gap policy, which is utilising the knowledge of Indigenous Australians in creating culturally sensitive Indigenous health policies. In conclusion, this essay demonstrates that by including Indigenous Australians in the policymaking process, we might be starting to close the gap. The health inequality of Indigenous Australians has long been a concern for Australia and the world. Whilst the overall health of Australia has continued to improve, the health of Indigenous Australians remains at levels below those of non-indigenous Australians. Whilst it may seem that there is a lot being done to address these issues, the statistics demonstrate that policies implemented to address these issues have not been effective (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet 2010; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010, p. 29). The thesis of this essay is that whilst the government has been seen as attempting to address the issues of health inequalities of Indigenous Australians, it is only in recent times that the government has implemented programs that are anywhere near close to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. To demonstrate this thesis, this essay will firstly discuss the history of Indigenous health prior to colonisation. This will be done to highlight how

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