2020 Semester 2

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5 replies
  1. Andrea-P
    Andrea-P says:

    Last year I read Trudgeon’s “Why Warriors Lie Down and Die” and found it really captured the essence of how health and well being is seen differently in Yolgnuand Ballanda culture. The stand out for me was that local people had been responsible for building houses in the Community, but this task was then handed over to organisations who visited the Community, who quickly built houses and then left. The pride and ownership that was experienced by local people building local houses was lost, leaving behind feelings of shame and poor self esteem. The local builders had been slow to erect the homes and had been very proud of their work, taking care with workmanship. They felt that the quick turn around by contractors had occurred, leaving poor quality housing that needed lots of ongoing maintenance. At the same time the local community ‘shamed’ them asking why they couldn’t build houses as quickly as the ballanda. Job opportunities were lost and the local builders were no longer employed, collecting ‘sit down’ money (Centrelink benefits) instead.
    The well being of the Community as a whole is really important to Bininj people, as is the connection to country and stories; and not the same as the accepted Western Culture version more aligned with the WHO (1948) definition of Health that includes physical, social and emotional well being.
    From working in Community, I observed that the hours of work are structured around a Western model of care as described in the ‘Sharing the Stories’ website. My experience is that early in the morning people like to remain asleep while it is cool (not many air conditioners in Community) or are rushing to get children to school; and that people will start to come to the clinic around mid morning. A large number of people would attend around midday while staffing levels were at their lowest. During the hot times, especially in kunumeleng, when the heat is high and humidity is building, people tend to want to come late in the afternoon, however the Clinic closes at 4pm. There is a lot of movement around community in the late afternoon/early evening when the temperature becomes more bearable. Perhaps it would make sense to have clinic times that would work better with the needs of the Community and the future of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations may include these in the advent of Aboriginal Medical Services.
    Bininj family health priorities may be very different to the Western commonly held views. One common difference I have observed is that sorry business and going on country for bush tucker will be prioritised much higher than a personal health issue, sometimes to the detriment of the individual. When explored, with the value of hindsight the person will still prioritise the community or family obligation over their personal health as it would lead to shame and further distress to not participate in the community obligations. Health is seen in a holistic context that includes family and community, rather than a particular disease or condition for an individual.

    • Kellie-D
      Kellie-D says:

      I loved reading your passage. Working at the clinic myself, I often wonder if it would function better with adjusted opening hours. Rather than 9-5, I wonder the difference an 11-7 model would go. It can get so hot, there is no wonder why they like to sleep in.

      Additionally, I liked how you mentioned a future of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and I look forward to seeing how the clinic will go in Gunbalanya once it is run by Red Lily, an Aboriginal Medical Service.

  2. Kellie-D
    Kellie-D says:

    According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1948, health is the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Additionally, WHO (2018) conclude that the social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels.

    In contrast, Aboriginal health does not mean the physical wellbeing of an individual, but rather the social, emotional, spiritual and cultural participation of the whole community where connection to land is central to well-being. This holistic view involves the entire community throughout the duration of one’s life-course including; social justice, equity, and rights, as well as traditional knowledge, traditional healing, and connection to country (Gee, Dudgeon, Schultz, Hart, & Kelly, 2014).

    As the vide by Berribob alludes to, bush medicine was found to be commonly used among Indigenous Australians in times of crisis (McGrath, Holewa, Ogilvie, Rayner, & Patton, 2006). There is a significant lack of research regarding Indigenous bush medicine which was recognised by Menzies School of Health Research. They are now acting on this and in 2017 Menzies School of Health Research began a $1.03 million research and commercial partnership with the aim to explore the development of sustainable agribusiness model for tractional Australian medicinal plants growing in Northern Australia (Menzies School of Health Research, 2019). This will be beneficial in order to recommence appropriate bush medicines and discover interactions they may have with conventional medicines. It would be so great to see a combination of Western Medicine and bush medicine to improve Indigenous Health outcomes and empower the Indigenous population.

  3. Zenobia-J
    Zenobia-J says:

    It’s been very interesting to read Andrea-P and Kellie-D’s reflections this week. As health workers they have such an interesting and unique insight working with Bininj in the context of health and wellbeing. I am quite ignorant about health and wellbeing and what it means within an Indigenous context, so leant a lot this week and again is blown away by their holistic approach – a whole-of-community approach in which connection to country and family play an integral role. Reflecting on this, I realise my own approach to health and wellbeing is quite pragmatic and it is almost a subject I don’t think about as long as my family, friends and I are all doing well. I eat well, I exercise and I keep my mind active. I obviously have a privileged life and quite self-centred when it comes to thinking and be concerned about health and wellbeing. Perhaps COVID-19 has forced me to think about things a little differently, moving a tiny bit more towards the Bininj perspective of health and wellbeing. Things that we have taken for granted could no longer be that way. Health of others were placed above economic wellbeing and mental health really came to the forth. I think we as westerners really struggled, because it was no longer just about us as individuals, we had to think about the wellbeing of others too. This will continue into the future and we can learn a lot from Bininj.
    I have not looked at each of the recommended websites in any detail yet, but will certainly do so at some point in time. I looked through HealthInfoNet and found this to be quite a rich and helpful sources of information. I also felt that the ethical guidance provided is equally applicable to other professionals engaging with Bininj and again reinforced the notion that we have to be informed and respectful to gain the trust of Bininj to foster long-term relationships, regardless of what profession we work in.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the video by Berribob. I have had the privilege to meet Berribob on a couple of occasions and the wealth of cultural knowledge he carries with him is amazing.

  4. Colin Barker
    Colin Barker says:

    This unit was interesting to watch the bininj teach their children hunting and how to make a fire, and how this is passed on to the next generation. their attitude to health and well being is interesting , I think we can learn something from this,

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