At the Poche Network we take a positive and practical approach
7th BIANNUAL KEY THINKERS FORUM – Briefing Paper
Close the Gap Ten Year Anniversary – Aboriginal traditional medicine and Ngangkari healers – the Gap that’s missing?
Health literacy is not a new concept, yet it is only recently gaining greater attention for its proven potential to improve health outcomes and service delivery. Whilst early definitions focused on individuals’ capacity to access, understand and act upon health information, recent developments recognise the responsibility for service providers to become health literate organisations and to develop workforces that can enhance health literacy for their consumers.
This is not a new conversation. In 1989, cultural competence was defined Cross et al as a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enables that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
Just as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) Australians have a higher burden of physical disease, they also are more likely to experience mental health and alcohol and other drug use disorders than are non-Indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians are hospitalised or die because of alcohol-related conditions four times as often.
Prior to the colonisation of Australia, the oral health of Indigenous people was better than that of non-Indigenous Australians.1 In the 1930s, poor oral health in Aboriginal people was recorded as an emerging problem when it was identified that the diet of Aboriginal people had been impacted by the dispossession of native lands for pastoral leases and the introduction of European foodstuffs such as tea, sugar and white flour.