The WA Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Framework 2015–2030 (the Framework) has been developed to ensure Aboriginal people in Western Australia have access to high quality health care and services, while assisting community to make good health a priority through a focus on prevention. It is a high level conceptual framework outlining a set of strategic directions to improve Aboriginal health and wellbeing outcomes for the next 15 years.
- Through an extensive consultation process, Aboriginal people have said that cultural, family and community connectedness is central to their health and wellbeing.
- There are areas needing further work to close the gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. These include: chronic diseases, kidney diseases, injury, disability and low birth weight.
- Aboriginal people overall experience a greater burden of disadvantage and have a higher risk of developing chronic disease and suffering injury. About 80% of the mortality gap between Aboriginal people and other Australians aged between 35–74 is due to potentially avoidable chronic diseases (Department of Health, 2012). Data also shows that Aboriginal people experience much earlier onset of a number of chronic diseases, in some cases up to 20 years earlier than the non-Aboriginal population.
- Programs and services need to identify and respond to the cultural needs of Aboriginal people and work within a holistic framework that recognises the importance of connection to country, culture, spirituality, family and community.
- A healthy transition to adulthood further supports positive health throughout life, to grow a healthy ageing Aboriginal population. Supporting older generations and creating culturally safe inclusive environments where people grow old on country, maintain culture and pass on their knowledge and stories is important.
The framework works from a cultural understanding of health and recognises the importance of physical, psychological health, social health and wellbeing, spirituality and cultural integrity. The cultural determinants of health originate from and promote a strength-based perspective, acknowledging that stronger connections to culture and country build stronger individual and collective identities, a sense of self-esteem, resilience, and improved outcomes across the other determinants of health including education, economic stability and community safety.