Investigate the following Critical Questions: How are priority issues for Australia’s health identified? What are the priority issues for improving Australia’s health? What role do health care facilities and services play in achieving better health for all Australians?
How are priority issues for Australia’s health identified?
What are the priority issues for improving Australia’s health?
What role do health care facilities and services play in achieving better
health for all Australians?
What actions are needed to address Australia’s health priorities?
Critical Question Content:
-role of epidemiology
-measures of epidemiology (mortality, infant
mortality, morbidity, life expectancy)
-social justice principles
-priority population groups
-prevalence of condition
-potential for prevention and early intervention
-costs to the individual and community
The Role of Epidemiology
Epidemiology is used by governments and health related organisations to obtain a picture of the health status of a population, to identify the patterns of health and disease, and analyse how health services and facilities are being used.
What does Epidemiology tell us?
What doesn’t epidemiology tell us?
How do we use epidemiology to improve the health of Australians?
Who uses Epidemiological measures?
Recently health authorities have acknowledged the need to adopt a measurement approach that focuses on the health of populations more than the disease of the individuals.
To address inequalities in health we must go beyond the disease and its risk factors to the environmental and social frameworks in which individuals live.
The epidemiological process must incorporate a social perspective to identify and combat the leading causes of sickness and death in Australia, and to reduce inequalities in health.
To reduce health inequalities, factors such as poor access to health services, low socioeconomic status, attitudes to illness and health promotion, limited education about self-care and health practices must be addressed.
Measures of Epidemiology
There are four measures of epidemiology: mortality, infantmortality, morbidity and life expectancy.
Current trends in mortality in the general population of Australia:
Similarities in death rates between males and females include:
Differences in death rates between males and females include:
International comparisons of mortality include:
Australia V’s USA
Australia V’s all other OECD Countries:
-improved medical diagnosis and treatment of illness
- improved public sanitation
- health education
- improved support services for parents and newborn babies and children.
Information about the incidence and prevalence of conditions in the total population gives us a broader perspective on the nations' health than that provided by mortality statistics.
In reference to the previous table:
The disease that had a significant burden on health but caused a relatively low fatal component is:
Conclusions that one can draw from the table of statistics on infectious disease are:
Morbidity measures and indicators include:
Identifying priority health issues allows governments and administrators to make decisions about allocating health resources to have the greatest impact on the health of Australians.
The principles underpinning the identification of priority health issues include:
Social Justice Principles
Priority Population Groups
Within the identified priority health issues for Australian’s certain groups in our population have been identified as at increased risk of developing these diseases or health conditions.
By identifying at risk population groups, government health care expenditure and health promotion initiatives can be directed towards these groups to attempt to reduce the prevalence of the disease.
Epidemiological information reveals that the priority population groups within Australia include:
Prevalence of Condition
Epidemiological data provide a guiding path for determining the priority areas for Australia’s health. Epidemiology also provides information on the incidence of mortality and morbidity in the Australian population and thus, to a certain degree, on the health status of the population.
It reveals the prevalence of disease and illness, and helps us to identify risk factors. These risk factors can then indicate the potential for change in a health area.
High prevalence rates of a disease indicate the health and economic burden that the disease or condition places on the community.
Potential for Prevention and Early Intervention
The majority of disease and illness suffered by Australians result from poor lifestyle behaviours. It is difficult to change behaviours as they often reflect the environmental situation in which an individual lives.
For change to occur, we must address both individual behaviours and environmental determinants. Most of the chronic diseases, injuries and mental health problems have social and individual determinants that can be modified so prevention and early intervention may lead to improved health status.
Cost to the Individual and Community
Disease and illness place a great deal of economic and health burden on an individual and community. It can be measured in terms of financial loss, loss of productivity, diminished quality of life and emotional stress.
The impact of disease in economic terms can be explained by the following:
Extension Work: Social Justice Principles
Examine the poster ‘CLOSE THE GAP’ and discuss the campaign. Your response should be no longer than a page and it should address:
How the campaign aims to address social justice principles.
How the campaign is focusing on a health priority issue to improve Australia’s health.
Extension Work: Potential for prevention and early intervention
‘BreastScreen Australia program still yielding results’
Click on the link BreastScreen Australia read through the information and answer the following questions:
Extension Work: Prevention and early intervention
Choose one example of a chronic disease or illness: for example cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma or depression.
Extension Work: Cost to the individual and the community
Costs of Cardiovascular Disease
Click on the link Cardiovascular diseases are Australia's costliest read through the information and answer the following questions:
Unfortunately, the generally improved health status for Australians is not shared Australian-wide. There are some fundamental differences in the level of health of particular groups in our generally affluent society. These differences exist in terms of:
Major indicators such as the incidence and prevalence of disease and different rates of sickness, hospitalisation and death, point to areas in which inequities exist.
Groups experiencing health inequities in Australia include:
Refer to page 21 of your work booklet and complete the following activity:
Research and analyse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and ONE other population group experiencing health inequities from the list above by investigating:
You will find the information at: Australia's Health 2010
Download the ‘Australia’s Health 2010’ document
Nature and Extent of Health Inequalities Summarised:
Extension Work: Age distribution of deaths among indigenous and non-indigenous people 2001-2005
In figure 3.5 identify the age group that experiences the highest proportion of deaths among: a) indigenous people and b) non-indigenous people.
Compare the proportions of deaths of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in the 0-24 age group. Suggest reasons for the difference.
Propose reasons for the higher proportion of deaths among indigenous people in the 25-44 years age group compared with the same age group among non-indigenous people.
Extension Work: Aboriginal Health Inequalities
Click on the link Indigenous Infant Mortality Rates read the media release and complete the following questions:
Extension Work: Treating Kidney Disease in Alice Springs
Click on the link Kidney Disease read the media release article and complete the following questions:
The sociocultural, socioeconomic and environmental determinants in detail
To support the second part of your response complete the following instructions.
Click on the link Australia's Health 2010 and then go to:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
The roles of individuals, communities and governments in addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s health.
People in Rural and Remote Areas
Prevalence is the number of cases of disease that exists in a defined population at a point in time.
Incidence is the number of new cases of disease occurring in a defined population over a period of time.
Impairment is a loss or abnormality of body structure or of a physiological or psychological function.
Mortality refers to the number of deaths in a given population from a particular cause and/or over a period of time.
Infant Mortality refers to the number of infant deaths in the first year of life per 1000 live births.
Morbidity is the incidence or level of illness, disease or injury in a given population.
Life Expectancy is the length of time a person can expect to live. It refers to the average number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age, based on current death rates.
COPD refers to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a long-term lung disease that reduces airflow in and out of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Smoking is the major cause of COPD. To learn more visit: http://www.mhcs.health.nsw.gov.au/publication_pdfs/8095/AHS-8095-ENG.pdf
OECD stands for Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. It is an organization for developed countries that accept the principles of representative democracy and a free market economy. To learn more visit: http://www.mapsofworld.com/oecd-member-countries.htm
Congenital Malformations are a physical defect present in a baby at birth that can involve many different parts of the body, including the brain, heart, lungs, liver, bones, and intestinal tract. Congenital malformation can be genetic, it can result from exposure of the foetus to a malforming agent (such as alcohol), or it can be of unknown origin.
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Handicap refers to a perceived social disadvantage that results from an impairment or disability
Equity is concerned with creating equal opportunities for health and with bringing health differentials down to the lowest levels possible.
Access is concerned with providing all individuals with the same level of access to health care opportunities in Australia.
Participation is concerned with ensuring that individuals are given the opportunity to be involved in decisions being made about health and health care in Austrlia.
Rights is concerned with ensuring that the rights of all people in our community are considered in a fair and equitable manner.
Priority Health Issues refers to high levels of preventable chronic disease, injury and mental health problems in Australia. These conditions can be further identified as:
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Risk Factors refers to specific lifestyle behaviours that contribute to the development of a health condition.
Inequities are unfair differences in levels of health status between groups in a society.
Sociocultural determinants of health include the way we are influenced by our family, peers, media, religion and culture.
Socioeconomic determinants of health include employment, education and income level.
Environmental determinants of health include geographical location, and access to health services and technology.
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