Blog Post #3: Sydney, Australia 2/15/2018

Something that specifically stuck out to me during this week’s readings was that “there is a dramatic gap in the health indicators for the indigenous population compared to non-indigenous Australians” as said in the Commonwealth Fund article. This seemed significant because the indigenous population has been so relevant to our trip already. Specifically, I have noticed that many speakers acknowledge the aboriginal origins of the land of Australia and our aboriginal workshop proved that the indigenous are still very relevant today. The health indicators that the article listed include mental illness, obesity, and chronic disease prevalence. The WHO supports this with “indigenous people experience much poorer health… than the rest of the population” likely due to their difficult history of being displaced and treated unjustly. However, after our workshop the other day I am wondering if their more traditional use of plants and other natural products for ailments rather than modern medicine influences health outcomes positively. It would be very interesting to compare the health care practices of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. 

Also interesting was the statement on the age distribution of the population of Australia. The WHO document says “Australia is still a young country in population terms with fewer elderly people than many other developed countries”. However, it is expected for the population growth of those aged 65 and over to double by 2025 (to about 24%). This reminded me of what we learned in China who has a population in which 25% of the citizens are already over age 65. China provides a good example of what Australia could one day be facing. With high numbers of elderly people, there are less people able to contribute to the workforce and more people that will require medical attention. This can cause social, economic, and emotional issues for many people and society as a whole as families will need to look out for and support their elderly family members and society will need people to fill jobs that the elderly are unable to do. 

Some contributors to this currently “young” Australian society is in part migration as well as improvements in health status and treatments. There have been improvements in life expectancy recently and as a result older people are expected to live longer due to better treatment of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Migration can also be a contributor because migration to Australia continues today, but often consists of younger people and their families, including their children. This means that policies and plans involving health care will have to be changed and catered to the aging population. Since the population is now young, the health problems that they face will change as time progresses and the health system cannot afford to stay stagnant. As seen in China, the aging population that now makes up 25% of their people is where many initiatives are focused because there is such a high number of people that need care for issues that are common in old age such as Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular issues. Altogether, Australia faces different health problems now than they will in the future as this large young population ages. 

15,584 Replies to “Blog Post #3: Sydney, Australia 2/15/2018”

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