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Addressing Food Insecurity In Torres Strait

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Addressing Food Insecurity In Torres Strait

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Discuss about the Addressing Food Insecurity In Torres Strait Islanders Living In Northern Territory.

Food Insecurity
Food insecurity comes with the inability of an individual to afford adequate food nutrients.1Disease management is difficult when there is poor nutrition combined with stress.2,3Worsening health conditions, in turn, drain a lot of money from the households, eating down on the budget and result in worsened lack of nutritious food and medical care.
Food Insecurity with aboriginals in Northern Territory of Australia
As food insecurity becomes a big threat to the well-being of a people in both developed and developing countries and likely to affect people who are low-income earners it still remains a global challenge as developing countries try to reach millennium development goal 1c target. In addition, indigenous Australians are more likely than other Australians to have food insecurity as a result of low income, overcrowding and household infrastructure among other factors.2,3,5,8 Food insecurity with Aboriginal living in Northern Territory is of a big concern and should be dealt with significantly. This paper aims at exploring an approach that can be used to minimize food insecurity in remote areas of northern territory amongst Aboriginals.
Prevalence of the food insecurity
The Australian National Nutritional Survey of 1995 and framework data 2004-05 indicate that indigenous people have a leading rate of 24% of food insecurity among other Australians.3,4,5,8According to Rosier K. 6,7 there is the likelihood of Indigenous people lacking food due to 30% of adults expressing their worries over going without food.Browne J, Laurence S, Thorpe S. 2009.6,7State that there is a higher percentage of food limitation in remote areas due to the high cost of about 26% in remote community general stores more than it cost a ‘basket of food’ in Darwin supermarket. Studies from the Australian National Survey states that indigenous people spend a greater percentage of their income (35%) on food than non-indigenous Australians.6,7
Food insecurity is a continuous phenomenon and is brought about by many factors that are not similar in all regions and times.
Determinants of Food Insecurity
Food insecurity among Aboriginals is associated with low income, lack of access to affordable healthy food and overdependence on welfare groups.8Leading unhealthy life is common in these people than non-indigenous Australians as a result of poor diet.2,4,9Spending too much on health also results in food insecurity among the Aboriginals.10-12Aboriginals are the majority among the indigenous group representing 90% of total indigenous Australian population.This could be the reason for the less attention given to their rights by the government hence there is the likelihood of becoming poorer.
The geographical location is also another determinant of food insecurity where they are unable to access quality food and at the right time in remote areas. Aboriginals’ access to shops with high nutritional food at a high price is the cause of food insecurity. Pope states that ‘financialization’ of food items among Australian trade unions and industries is against human rights and has led to many people going without food since they can’t afford due to low income.10-12
Studies from National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have found that aboriginals spend over 35% of their income on food budget.10-12There is currently a worrying gap of food insecurity between non-indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders which raises a concern for the ministry to take immediate measures to improve food security for Aboriginals in the country and eradicate food-related health issues.
Recommended Public Health Approach: PolicyExplanation
The Australian Federal government is committed to ‘closing gap’ between the indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, specifically, the infant and child mortality gaps rate .13,14,15 Close the gap campaign began in 2008 with an aim of enabling health equalities within a generation. This approach is beneficial to the indigenous people but it lacks equity in all spheres disadvantaging the indigenous people against their counterpart non-indigenous Australians.13,14,15The objective of this policy is to bring equity in economic and social gaps in a generation of Australian people. The following strategy is to be implemented.

Education and training of indigenous personnel on nutrition to promote nutrition
Enabling food access to the locals through the acquisition of general agricultural land
Reducing monopoly of general food stores in rural areas by supplying nutritional food
Directing more funds to the nutritional healthy eating of Aboriginals
Provision of sufficient health ‘hardware’ such as stoves, functioning kitchens refrigerators in Aboriginals
Encourage locals to plant more fruits and vegetables in their agricultural land
Implement healthy eating programs amongst Aboriginals communities.

Policy advantages
Studies from Australian national survey has suggested that food is sold at 26% higher in rural areas of indigenous people than in the urban areas due to limited general food stores.Survey has also shown that a good number of adults are worried about going without food for days in Aboriginals which means the current program lacks greater effectiveness. Reducing monopoly of general stores of the remote areas is the best way to equitable health eating among the Aboriginals.
Economic implication
The implication of closing gap between indigenous people of Australia will have economic advantages to both government and indigenous Australian households.13,14,15 It is estimated that by 2031 the Australian governments would experience a net gain of $11.9 billion if the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians improves to match those of average Australians. This is because of broadening of tax base created by larger economy close to $7.2billion and $4.7 billion spent on health and social security will reduce due to greater well-being of among the indigenous people of Australia. Individual households’ income is likely to increase and expenditure on food lower as a result of nutritional food accessibility and reduction in medical care expenditure. The broader society is likely to benefit from the increased economic activities of the indigenous people.
Health Benefit
The health benefit brought by proper nutrient will improve the living standard of people living in remote areas of northern territory, reduces dangers of contracting diseases hence healthy living. Health for Pregnant mothers will be improved and reduce infant and child mortality rates and healthy lives of their both inborn and growing children, hence the potential of maintaining best talents lost as a result of poor diet.20,22Improvement of life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people is the other health benefit of closing the gap. Aboriginal life expectancy for men is 69.1 years non-aboriginal Australians likely to live 10 more years. There is a less life expectancy between aboriginal women of 9 years compared to non-aboriginals women living for 82 years on average. Reduced risk of contracting or developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases will reduce.
Increased education to indigenous people
Education is an important factor in improving and supporting families as educated people have better labor market than those who are not educated. Tertiary education is more likely to open opportunities for students after completing their studies.A healthy body contributes to right judgment, improvement of moods, stress management and improvement in education. Aboriginals have a low education because they are poorly fed and therefore unable to bear children who are mental health with the ability to concentrate on education. The result is school drop-out and poor performance producing lowly educated people. Good nutrition will reduce school drop-out and poor performance among the aboriginals as well as reduce absenteeism in school. This helps also in the agenda of balancing education level between aboriginals and non-aboriginals in the Northern Territory. Quality education will increase the competitiveness of the aboriginals and have better job opportunities hence achieve the target placed by the federal government.
Policy Disadvantages
To achieve the goal of this policy it is required that life expectancy increase by 16 years and 21 years respectively among the indigenous females and males due to the increasing life expectancy of the non-indigenous population. 23, This has been proven most difficult in the five years to 2012 where there was a gain of only 0.8 years for men and women 0.1 which accounted for a fraction of what was needed. There has been no change in mortality rate per 100,000 in the year which remains 1.7 times for the indigenous people compared to the non-indigenous people from 1998. Child mortality rate increased slightly in 2014 and 2015 indicating zero declines since 2008.13,22, The unemployment rate has remained half of the non-indigenous people by 2018. Few indigenous people in remote areas are employed (35.1%) in comparison to 57.5% of those in urban and major cities.
The closing gap is not limited to infant and child mortality rates making it have a limitation in bridging gaps between aboriginals’ social and economic welfare and those of the non-aboriginals.17,21Evidence concerning infant and childhood mortality rate reduction is not anywhere to be found. Reducing monopoly of general food stores in rural areas by supplying nutritional food has been proposed but evaluation of the rural areas was not evident. This program will need a government-government support through funding and coordination. If this is not done long-term goals of the policy would be at risk with the change in the ministry and government. However, bridging gaps between the aboriginals and non-aboriginals remains the most preferred strategy for reduction of future government and household of aboriginals Australia health expenditure.

Education and training

Reports from ABS show that an indigenous male or female with a degree has a high probability of 85% and 74% employment respectively. 17,18,23 For those with year 12 certificate has a probability of 62% and 50% whereas having completed year 9 and below is 43% and 32% respectively. With education, there is a higher probability of securing an employment.13,14,16
Nicholas Biddle, Boyd Hunter, Mandy Yap, and Matthew identifies eight ways to improve employment in indigenous people and they include increasing indigenous Australians skill levels via formal education, pre-employment assessment to prepare them for jobs, recruitment and policies of workplace that facilitate conducive environment ensuring equal opportunity to secure jobs, ongoing mentorship to employers, support for the families of the employed indigenous, cross-cultural awareness training to employers, minimizing the racism in the workplace, and flexible work arrangement for other natural duties.

feeding American network

This concept comes into existence in 160s through John Van Hengel in Phoenix and since then American feeding has helped every community in the 50 states to any person who needs it without being obliged regardless of their social or economic status in a free and confidential manner.22Feeding America has over 200 member food banks feeding American people with over 3 billion pounds of food and grocery yearly. It has an initiative of feeding American families struggling with hunger, educate the public on the hunger issues, advocate for legislative policies, and offer programs that improve self-sufficiency among their clients.
All the American food banks partners with the local agencies and food programs to offer hunger relief. They provide food through a non-profit partner agencies network that receives, store and distributes donated foods and groceries to the needy. America has successfully addressed hunger threats to its citizen over 35 years since the start of feeding America networks banks.
Political Sensitivities.

Demographic/Political Party Sensitivity

All decisions of policymaking are influenced by the political class especially if they are money oriented. There are differences in interest and gains the political class will have with some directly benefiting from policy or policies.14,20 Implementing policies that benefit a single class of people may raise political temperatures especially for the people regarded as minors. Fear of the ruling political party would deter the implementation especially if they know some electorates are not in support of it.

Economic sensitivity

As budget may be hard to change, people who are targeted may develop even higher social sensitivity especially if they feel their needs not catered for. The Australian government is already spending over $44,000 per every indigenous Australian which could make it a challenge to increase the expenditure on the aboriginals.22This may be negatively received making it hard to implement. The program may also receive a negative response from the people not likely to benefit from it.

Addressing Political Sensitivities

Decisions on social and economic may be received with a lot of opposition especially from the majority of the already unaffected group than they may receive other policy suggestions.16,18The ministry should choose reducing its health expenditure in the future by implementing this policy in its target to minimize future expenditure and increasing its revenue. This policy focuses on improving the already existing strategies as well as reduces the future expenditure and increase the economic stability of Australia.

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