Changes in the environment due to invasion of foreign species has always seen to have negative consequences. These ecological impacts can potentially be damaging to the native ecosystems and biodiversity. Similar observations can be made in human populations across the globe. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders in Australia have suffered unprecedented health issues which has resulted in shorter life expectancies post British colonisation. The increase of cardiovascular diseases among other health issues among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait population have become a major concern in Australia. This is thought to be a result of Social factors that determine health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders. Various organizations are trying to solve these problems by implementing various laws, health benefits to protect this vulnerable community. Close the Gap initiative lead by World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Australian Government is trying to overcome this issue
Certain factors are found to promote health in one’s living and functional conditions (such as literacy rate, distribution of remuneration, economic stability) that influence the risk of increase of susceptibility to disease or injury. These factors have a magnified impact on the socio-economic conditions of the more vulnerable subset of the population living in that particular geographical location. These above mentioned factors are called Social Determinants of Health. A public statement released by World Health Organization based on collective data have shown that the distribution of social determinants are moulded by public policies that point out the influence of current political ideologies of those governing the law. This leads to formation of an unnatural circumstance which damages the social hierarchy affecting those having poor income.
The annual report provided by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2014 depicts the Relationship between social determinants of health and self-assessed health status of good/excellent, Indigenous Australians, 2008
The figure clearly indicates that native Australians were less likely to have good healthcare or even residences as they do not if they have proper income than non-native population.
An article published by Edith Cowan University has showed that out of 3,088 death cases as of 2015, the major cause of deaths among Aboriginal and Torres Strait people were found to be Coronary Heart Disease followed by diabetes, various types of cancers and chronic respiratory disease.
A group of diseases that affects the heart, blood flow and circulatory system are defined as cardiovascular diseases(CVD). The common types of CVD are: Coronary heart disease, Stroke, Heart failure, high blood pressure
Cardiovascular health is affected by extensive smoking, leading sedentary lifestyle, malnutrition, alcoholism, obesity and having diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Statically, CVD is more prevalent among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous population. A survey conducted by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey (AATSIHS) during 2012-2013, showed 13% had at least one form of CVD. A majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in secluded remote areas were more likely to develop CVD than those living in metropolitans. Statistical data have shown CVD was 1.2 times more prevalent for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than for non-Indigenous people. Indigenous islander women are more susceptible to cardiac diseases than men which affect propagation of the future generation of these people,
6% of hospitalisations cases were found to be due to CVD of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2014-15. most CVD hospitalisations about 40%, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2013-14 resulted due to Coronary heart disease, followed by heart failure and respiratory troubles (15%), stroke (7%).
CVD was the leading cause of death among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 2010-2014. Almost twice the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were likely to die from coronary artery disease than non-Indigenous people in 2015. The imbalance of ratio in CVD death cases between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people decreased subsequently between 1998 and 2014.
A report of 2010-12 showed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of the age group of 35-44 years were 10 times more susceptible to die from coronary heart disease than non-Indigenous people of the same age group. The difference in health and lifestyle of the two population subsets have led to the development of Close-The-Gap Foundation.
Close the Gap Foundation
The Australian Government along with major human welfare societies various human rights associations have come together to start the Close-The-Gap Campaign. This purpose of this campaign is to curb the imbalance between indigenous and non-Indigenous population. Provide better healthcare for both population and ensure better living and better future. They have a target till 2030 to ensure equal health and living rights be provided to every person born in Aboriginal and Torres Strait
According to the 2016 report of AIHW a lot of progress has been made in this sector and substantial increase of life expectancy, proper hygiene, health, decrease of heart diseases, access to health benefits have been achieved.
Inhabitants of the younger age group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are more likely to die from CVD than non-Indigenous people, since the majority of the Indigenous population are of that age group, so the primary concern of the organisations is to educate the younger population and create awareness. The organising body is working hard to provide better healthcare and accessibility to medical camps by developing better transport in remote areas. Proper nutrition, awareness, education should be the main and long term object of the Close-The-Gap foundation. They are more focused to address the issue of fighting the problem internally. providing external catalyst for a better lifestyle is not enough to solve a problem like this. The indigenous people have to be educated properly so that they are able to mould their thought and have self-determination so as to protect their own community.