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Articles on Aboriginal health

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Crystal Bulumbara, Esther Bulumbara, Claire Smith and Nell Brown. Barunga community, Northern Territory. July 2019. Narritj

Friday essay: voices from the bush – how lockdown affects remote Indigenous communities differently

Researchers report on how COVID-19 is affecting isolated Indigenous communities. Their voices bridge the urban divide, reveal challenges and describe some unexpected bonuses.
Regular exercise reduces the risk of obesity and a number of chronic diseases. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Sport can be an important part of Aboriginal culture for women – but many barriers remain

Just one in four Indigenous women play sport or are physically active, with many citing racism, cost and gendered expectations as barriers.
Walpiri Transient Camp, Katherine: Western medicine can’t be expected to work for disadvantaged Indigenous Australians unless housing and social disadvantage are also addressed.

How a rethink of emergency care is closing the gap, one person at a time

A safe home, a working fridge and access to transport are all needed before western medicine has a chance of working in the long term. But a new way of providing care can help.
Around 5% of adults and 90% of babies who contract hepatitis B go on to have life-long infection that can only be managed with regular medication. Ronald Rampsch/Shutterstock

We have a vaccine for hepatitis B but here’s why we still need a cure

Babies in Australia have been vaccinated against hepatitis B since May 2000, but 240,000 Australians still live with the disease.
Coming together with Elders and other community members helped survivors feel connected. It also gave them hope.

‘My mob is telling their story and it makes me feel good’: here’s what Aboriginal survivors of child sexual abuse told us they need

Many Aboriginal survivors of sexual abuse find mainstream counselling inappropriate. But there is a way to help them heal that respects a collective culture, with strong community ties.
Australia’s first Aboriginal Brain Injury Coordinator, Rebecca Clinch, with brain injury survivor Justin Kickett. Edith Cowan University

Aboriginal Australians want care after brain injury. But it must consider their cultural needs

The absence of Indigenous Australians in rehabilitation services has created the belief they don't want therapy. The reality is they want services which better meet their cultural needs.
Being separated from their children affects the mental well-being of Aboriginal mothers in prison. ChrisMilesProductions/Shutterstock

Aboriginal mothers are incarcerated at alarming rates – and their mental and physical health suffers

Aboriginal mothers in prison feel intergenerational trauma and the forced removal of their children are the most significant factors impacting their health and well-being.
Balgo artists: Miriam Baadjo (b. 1957),Tossie Baadjo (b. 1958), Jane Gimme (b. 1958), Gracie Mosquito (b. 1955), Helen Nagomara (b. 1953), Ann Frances Nowee (b. 1964) and Imelda Yukenbarri (b. 1954). Bush medicine: a collaborative work by women from Wirrimanu (Balgo), 2018, acrylic on linen, 120×180cm, MHM2018.32, © Warlayirti Artists; Medical History Museum

The art of healing: five medicinal plants used by Aboriginal Australians

At least half the food eaten by the first Australians came from plants. And in terms of medicines, many different parts of plants were used.
Unless we design research programs to look at why people would rather stay on country than receive effective health treatments, Aboriginal health may not improve. Dan Peled/AAP

Controlled experiments won’t tell us which Indigenous health programs are working

Like all good health care, improving health in remote settings requires an evidence base. But forcing all research questions into the randomised controlled trial model is not the answer.
Policies and services designed to protect Aboriginal children’s cultural connections are not being properly implemented. AAP Image/Dan Peled

Australia failing to safeguard cultural connections for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care

New reports show a widespread lack of care for the cultural needs of many of the 19,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection and out-of-home care.
The facilities were poor and some inmates were subjected to unsuccessful experimentation with a “vaccine” that used arsenic compounds. Hospital Ward Dorre Island/State library of Western Australia

What do the newspapers really tell us about the lock hospital histories?

The lock hospitals inflicted incalculable traumas on Aboriginal people, wrenching them away from families and country.
In the SBS documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?, Peter Garrett traces the history of his grandmother, who worked in the “lock hospitals” as a nurse. Screenshot/Who Do You Think You Are/ SBS

Acknowledge the brutal history of Indigenous health care – for healing

Hundreds of Aboriginal people were incarcerated on Dorre and Bernier islands for "venereal disease" between 1908 and 1919. The lock hospitals were penal rather than therapeutic institutions.

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