Policy implications for controlling communicable diseases in Indigenous communities: case of Strongyloidiasis in Australia

Miller, Adrian, Smith, Michelle L., Judd, Jenni A., and Speare, Rick (2018) Policy implications for controlling communicable diseases in Indigenous communities: case of Strongyloidiasis in Australia. Aboriginal Policy Studies, 7 (1). pp. 148-179.

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The objective of this paper is to document the knowledge and experiences of healthcare professionals and researchers in Australia about the barriers to controlling Strongyloides stercoralis in Australian Indigenous communities. Qualitative research methods were used to conduct in-depth semi-structured interviews, which were digitally recorded, transcribed, and participant-checked. Data were thematically analysed to identify significant themes. Five major themes were identified:

1) Barriers to health/treatment;

2) Access to healthcare;

3) Policy;

4) Learning opportunity; and

5) Ideas for intervention.

The findings suggest that Australian Indigenous communities will continue to suffer increased morbidity and mortality due to a lack of control or prevention of Strongyloides stercoralis. Issues such as institutional racism, improvements to health promotion, education, socioeconomic determinants, and health care system policy and procedures need to be addressed. This study identifies several direct implications for Indigenous health:

The need for increased knowledge and understanding of the risks to health for Indigenous community members;

The need for prevention policy development for neglected tropical diseases in Indigenous communities;

The need for increased knowledge and understanding of the treatment, diagnosis, and healthcare access concerning Strongyloides stercoralis for health professionals and policymakers who work within Indigenous health;

The need to raise awareness of systematic institutional racism in the control and prevention of neglected tropical diseases in Indigenous communities; and

The need for a health promotion framework that can provide the basis for multiple-level interventions to control and prevent Strongyloides in Indigenous communities.

Item ID: 65208
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1923-3299
Keywords: Indigenous Australia, Aboriginal Australia, community, Strongyloides stercoralis, Strongyloidiasis, parasitic infection, chronic disease, institutional racism, policy, disparity, neglected tropical disease, epidemiology
Copyright Information: Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivitive License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
Additional Information:

In memory of Emeritus Professor Rick Speare, AM, a fearless man of great intelligence, integrity, wisdom, kindness, and humility, with a pragmatic passion for public health and tropical medicine. Amongst his many achievements, Rick's doctoral dissertation on Strongyloides stercoralis provided foundational knowledge for understanding the clinical disease. He developed a lifetime commitment to preventing and treating neglected tropical diseases in economically disadvantaged populations in Australia and Oceania.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant #DI0989521
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2020 00:05
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4504 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing > 450407 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy @ 100%
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