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Introduction

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has highlighted the persistent 10-year difference in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, which is examined in the report that follows. In particular, the report examines the strong influence of two significant social factors of health, education, and culture, on this disparity. It will give the report a clear framework, identify key words, and make it possible to examine these factors methodically. The paper intends to provide effective methods to reduce the ongoing health disparities among Indigenous peoples by exposing the complexities underlying these causes.

Culture

Indigenous community-specific cultural elements have a substantial impact on the persistent difference in life expectancy among Australians who are Indigenous and those who are not (Pelletier et al., 2017). This Indigenous society's perspective on health and wellbeing is shaped by the rich cultural convictions and principles that are ingrained in their ancestor-centered traditions. In contrast to the Western scientific approach, these views frequently place a high priority on holistic wellness practises that emphasise the spiritual, sentimental, and psychological health of the individual (Collins et al., 2017). Nevertheless, the absence of cultural competency in the larger society frequently leads to the misunderstanding or disregard of these principles in the delivery of medical care. Due to this cultural gap, it is difficult for healthcare providers to effectively communicate with and comprehend Indigenous people, which ultimately prevents them from receiving timely and adequate medical care.

Furthermore, the Indigenous group faces additional difficulties due to its unique linguistic landscape. There are significant communication challenges between Indigenous people and healthcare providers because of the wide variety of Indigenous languages spoken. Due to the difficulty in communicating health issues and navigating the healthcare systems, inequities in accessibility and utilisation result (Australian Government, 2020).

Moreover, the Indigenous society's perspective of health is greatly influenced by cultural beliefs about wellness and good health. The concentration on societal harmony and interdependence frequently has an impact on health-seeking behaviours and the acceptability of conventional medical procedures (Azzopardi et al., 2018). Recognising and incorporating Indigenous cultural norms and principles into health practises and policies is necessary to close the life duration gap. Healthcare professionals can build a relationship of confidence with Indigenous populations by increasing their cultural competence and knowledge. This will help them provide effective and culturally acceptable healthcare services (Biddle & Swee, 2012). This recognition of cultural variety is essential to promoting an Indigenous Australian healthcare system that is more open and egalitarian.

Education

Education is a key factor in determining the health results of Australia's Indigenous population. Reduced medical literacy and a lessened grasp of the community's healthcare resources have been linked to decreased academic achievement (Fogarty et al., 2018). The lack of fundamental health knowledge frequently serves as a barrier, prohibiting Indigenous peoples from receiving appropriate healthcare as well as early interventions, aggravating existing diseases and increasing the life duration disparity (Rivera et al., 2020).

Health literacy can be considerably improved, and proactive health-seeking behaviours can be encouraged, by educational programmes that are specifically designed to meet the requirements and cultural backdrop of the Indigenous population (Shahid et a., 2016). Teachers may enable Indigenous people to make knowledgeable decisions about their physical and mental wellness by incorporating culturally pertinent medical knowledge into the educational curriculum, promoting a culture of proactively health management and preventative treatment.

Given all of these advantages, persistent constraints have prevented many members of the Indigenous population from pursuing higher education. These barriers include a lack of access to excellent education, socioeconomic difficulties, and the effects of previous marginalisation. The inequality has also been exacerbated by the absence of tools and systems of assistance that are specifically designed to meet the requirements of indigenous pupils (Ford, 2013). A multifaceted strategy is needed to remove these structural hurdles, including focused educational programmes, increased access to high-quality education, including the creation of support networks for Indigenous pupils who choose to continue pursuing higher education.

To promote sustained improvements in the health results for people of Indigenous descent and close the life expectancy gap, addressing educational gaps within the population of Indigenous peoples through comprehensive culturally responsive educational programmes, combined with specific initiatives aimed at improving access to education and assets, is crucial.

Recommendation

A comprehensive strategy is required to close the disparity in life expectancy among Australians who are Indigenous and non-Indigenous. It is crucial to provide cultural competency instruction for policymakers and healthcare professionals top priority. This would promote interpersonal relationships and confidence in healthcare settings by fostering an understanding of and respect for Aboriginal cultural ideas, values, and practises (Guerra & Kurtz, 2017). Enhancing efficient interaction and collaboration among healthcare practitioners and Indigenous populations through the integration of Indigenous cultural learning into healthcare training programmes may end up resulting in the provision of treatment that is more adaptable to cultural differences.

Specifically designed educational programmes that address the requirements for the Indigenous community are also essential. To enable people of Indigenous descent to seek higher education and improve their understanding of health care and decision-making skills, it is important to establish culturally diverse institutions of learning and provide access to excellent education. To remove structural impediments preventing achievement in school, legislation emphasising the reduction of socioeconomic gaps and the provision of comparable educational possibilities for Indigenous learners will be crucial.

Conclusion

The ongoing disparity in life expectancy between Australians of Indigenous and non-Indigenous descent is the result of intricate interplay among cultural and educational elements, which are supported by historical and structural issues. Achieving fair healthcare requires giving cultural sensitivity and educational equity top priority. Health disparities can be reduced by upholding Indigenous rights and values in both education and healthcare. Implementing sustainable solutions customised to Indigenous needs, supporting improved health outcomes and life expectancy parity, requires collaboration amongst stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, policymakers, educators, and the community. Collaboration between Indigenous leaders, legislators, and healthcare experts develops an awareness of independence and accountability throughout the community, resulting in long-lasting improvements in health. The key to securing long-lasting progress is creating an inclusive healthcare system that gives Indigenous populations' rights top priority.

APA 7 References

Australian Government. (2020). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework. Retrieved from https://www.indigenoushpf.gov.au/publications/hpf-summary-2020

Azzopardi, P. S., Sawyer, S. M., Carlin, J. B., Degenhardt, L., Brown, N., Brown, A. D., & Patton, G. C. (2018). Health and wellbeing of Indigenous adolescents in Australia: a systematic synthesis of population data. The Lancet391(10122), 766-782. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32141-4 

Collins, J., Morrison, M., Basu, P. K., & Krivokapic-Skoko, B. (2017). Indigenous culture and entrepreneurship in small businesses in Australia. Small Enterprise Research24(1), 36-48. DOI- https://doi.org/10.1080/13215906.2017.1289855

Fogarty, W., Riddle, S., Lovell, M., & Wilson, B. (2018). Indigenous education and literacy policy in Australia: Bringing learning back to the debate. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education47(2), 185-197. DOI- https://doi.org/10.1017/jie.2017.18

Ford, M. (2013). Achievement gaps in Australia: What NAPLAN reveals about education inequality in Australia. Race Ethnicity and Education16(1), 80-102. DOI- https://doi.org/10.1080/13613324.2011.645570

Guerra, O., & Kurtz, D. (2017). Building collaboration: a scoping review of cultural competency and safety education and training for healthcare students and professionals in Canada. Teaching and learning in medicine29(2), 129-142. DOI- https://doi.org/10.1080/10401334.2016.1234960

Pelletier, C. A., Smith-Forrester, J., & Klassen-Ross, T. (2017). A systematic review of physical activity interventions to improve physical fitness and health outcomes among Indigenous adults living in Canada. Preventive medicine reports8, 242-249. DOI- https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.11.002

Rivera, M. P., Katki, H. A., Tanner, N. T., Triplette, M., Sakoda, L. C., Wiener, R. S., ... & Aldrich, M. C. (2020). Addressing disparities in lung cancer screening eligibility and healthcare access. An official American Thoracic Society statement. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine202(7), e95-e112. DOI- https://doi.org/10.1164/rccm.202008-3053ST

Shahid, S., Teng, T. H. K., Bessarab, D., Aoun, S., Baxi, S., & Thompson, S. C. (2016). Factors contributing to delayed diagnosis of cancer among Aboriginal people in Australia: a qualitative study. BMJ open6(6), e010909. DOI- http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010909

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