Overseas Born People – Health Inequities in Australia

Overseas-Born People: A Group Experiencing Health Inequity. The nature and extent of the health inequity. – The ‘healthy migrant effect’ demonstrates that the majority of the Australians that were born overseas (nearly one-quarter of the population) enjoy lower rates of death (9%). A few reasons factor into this ‘healthy migrant effect’; less exposure to Australian culture and risk factors, migrants tend to be healthy to physically move countries (government has regulations on health, education and job skills. )

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People born in countries that war zones, or non-English speaking countries tend to have higher rates of psychological problems due to the stress those factors have upon them. Overseas-Born people have a 20% less rate of hospitalization than other Australians. Different country migrants tend to have higher rates of different diseases than Australian-born Australians. A few examples are; dialysis (Greece, Italy, Vietnam, Philippines, Croatia and India), lung cancer (United Kingdom and Ireland) and tuberculosis (India, Vietnam, Philippines and China. The probable reason for difference in rates this is the diverse influential risk factors that come from those environments and culture. The socio-cultural, socioeconomic and environmental factors. – Migrants are often less exposed to harmful risk factors that are found in Australia such as physical inactivity, skin cancer and high-risk alcohol consumption. ‘The healthy migrant effect’ shows that their factors from their country in comparison to our country make them healthier in relation to Australians. The socio-cultural factors are language barriers, which lead to a lack of education about health.

Relocating and moving countries makes migrants unfamiliar with their whereabouts and can cause stress, also not having communication with their other culture can lead to physiological illnesses, making them prone to them. Finally, their inherited different understanding and knowledge of health, fitness and illnesses can make them more prone to risk factors. They also may not be used to health care, and refuse to be hospitalized/immunized. Their previous cultures may have influence different lifestyles such as Middle East, North Africa who tend to have low exercise levels and they have brought those determinants with them.

Economically, overseas-born people are relatively well off when they arrive in Australia because they had planned to move and had sufficient funds. But socio-economic status may fall depending on opportunities for employment and housing at their particular time of migration. Environmentally, some people may be naive in the typical Australian climate when migrating and don’t understand the extreme weather conditions that Australians suffer, which heightens their risk of things such as skin cancer. Their previous environment may have suffered from extreme pollution (China and India) and they will have higher risks of lung diseases.

The roles of individuals, communities and governments in addressing the health inequities. – The main tactic the Australian government to address the inequities is to stop the language barrier, which will let them have a lot more access to health knowledge, as it is now reachable without the language barrier. By supporting the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities with removing the barrier is a lot more cost effective to the government. The NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS) works with health services to provide CALDs’ with access to important health information.

Support is also given to health services within areas that are experiencing a growth in the number of new arrivals and refugees. Since communities work closer with the individuals themselves they allow feedback which can show if it’s working or not, and allow changes to be made. So far in Australia the removal of language barriers proves to be a positive influence on overseas-born people. To support the CALD is by advocating, promoting and engaging in the use and delivery of culturally appropriate health services.

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