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The health issue which was undertaken for the study is immunisation and the health policy which is taken is the national immunisation program.
The National Immunisation Program (NIP) is a program which consists of a chain of immunisation that is needed to be given throughout the Australian people’s life. The aim of this program is to give immunisation from birth to adulthood so as to protect people from multiple life-threatening diseases (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). NIP provides a list where diseases are mentioned with its vaccination and it is free of cost. NIP also shows when to get this immunisation and tell about the protection which is best possible. NIP has also made immunisation program for indigenous and non-indigenous people separately by looking at both the communities’ health status and concern. The aims for non-indigenous people that are outlined by NIP are as follows: The vaccine for hepatitis B should be given to every infant as early as possible after birth. The most beneficial would be to vaccinate within 24 hours. However, it should be given in the 1 week of birth. The rotavirus vaccine's initial dose should be provided within 14 weeks of birth and the second dose should be given by 24 weeks. 23vPPV first dose should be administered by the time child reaches 4 years of age and the second dose should be given by the time he/she becomes 5 years old (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). Gardasil should also be given based on age and risk conditions. It also aimed to provide immunisation to old age people. This was covered in a catch-up program which is of 5 years for people having ages between 71 and 79. They also set goals for giving immunisation while a woman is pregnant, especially when she’s in between 20 and 32 weeks. The policy also focused on give vaccines to humanitarian entrants and refugees (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). NIP has given immunisation policy for aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people also. The vaccination of hepatitis B, rotavirus, 23vPPV and Gardasil is same for them also. However, an additional vaccine dose which is of 13vPCV has also been asked to give to indigenous people. Meningococcal B vaccine should also be offered to children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are below 2 years. The guidelines for immunisation also talks about the influenza vaccine. This should be administered while the child is below 6 months of age and have a certain risk which could harm his well being like heart diseases, chronic conditions of lungs, immunity which is impaired, diseases related to kidneys, severe asthma, the problem of the nervous system which creates trouble in breathing, diabetes and haemoglobinopathies. It should also be given to pregnant women in any of their trimester (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020).
These policies recognize the principles of health promotion and primary health care by focusing on working in different healthcare settings and with people who are of different communities so that sustainable heath could be achieved and also inequalities in the health can be prevented (Hempler et al. 2018). The policies include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the non-indigenous community also. The guidelines also cover very small children and adults who are more than 70 years of age. The focus is also given to pregnant women and people who have migrated from elsewhere to Australia that is refugees and humanitarian entrants. Policies in addition to this have given opportunities to the people who are below 20 years so that they can catch-up their immunisation (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). They have grouped people in two different groups that are group one belongs to children less than 10 years of age and then group two which have children from 10-19 years of age. NIP has also made schedules of immunisation for every state and territory. The policies include a broad health concept which is positive for people. It also focuses on involvement and participation of people from different backgrounds, settings and communities. The policies have set their goals and have an action plan. They pay attention to make people more healthy and free of diseases and creating equality in health where no particular community have to face adverse effect. The policies do not consider health as the opposite of death or disease but as a dimension of the good life (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). With that, guidelines also provide all the people equal opportunity and chances to get better health so that their lives and conditions could change for good. The policies also take into account that not everyone is having the same amount of chances or opportunities for carrying on healthy life and for that some particular guidelines have also been made. Policies are created in such a way by which specific groups like socially disadvantaged communities, vulnerable people and minorities could be benefitted (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020, Grabowski et al. 2017, Hempler et al. 2018, Christensen et al. 2019, Kitching and van Rooyen, 2020, Bønnelycke, Sandholdt and Jespersen, 2018).
These policies could also be used to advocate for children and their families with serious health issues. Vaccination for children and people who have certain medical conditions is very important so that increment of the risk can be stopped and additional care and protection can be given to them (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). NIP for this kind of situation provides fund for various vaccines for children and people having some medical conditions. People could also buy them privately. Children and people who are sick and have medical condition put them in danger to acquire the pneumococcal disease. So, for that, they can avail additional vaccines under NIP. Children who are below 12 months of age and are diagnosed with medical risk should be given 6 doses in a year and those who are above 12 months should be given 3 doses. Vaccine dosage and its type are dependent on a medical condition. The diseases that are covered in this are anatomical or functional asplenia, immunocompromising diseases and chronic disease of lung, kidney or heart (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). It also pays attention to premature babies, people with medical problems where fluids leak out of their spine or brain and on those people who have Down syndrome. In addition, people who are at higher risk of acquiring meningococcal disease also come under NIP so that they can take meningococcal B and meningococcal ACWY vaccine. The medical conditions which are considered for this are anatomical or functional hyposplenia or asplenia, complement deficiency and eculizumab. Vaccination of influenza is also recommended for individuals whose medical problems increase the risk of them getting influenza (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). This too has also come under NIP and the medical conditions that are acknowledged with this are heart diseases, severe diseases of the lung, neurological conditions, disorders of the blood, impaired immunities, diabetes and kidney diseases. Vaccine for Haemophilus influenza type b is also funded and advised for children who are below 5 years of age and for adults with anatomical and functional asplenia. The immunisation is also done when the proper vaccination was not done in childhood according to the guidelines and policies (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020).
The policies are appropriate for addressing the health concerns and issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders families. The people of indigenous community are given additional vaccines with the help of NIP. These are given so as to protect them against serious illness. Additional vaccinations are given throughout their life (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). People with already existing medical conditions are provided extra care and support by the use of immunisation. Children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive regular immunisations who are aged below 5 years under NIP. Vaccine for meningococcal B is very much recommended and is free for indigenous community children and as a part of the routine, the vaccination is needed to be done at when the child reached 2 months, 4 months and 12 months of age. Those children belonging to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities and have missed on their vaccination could get them for free with the help of NIP until they turn 2 years of age. The catch-up program helps these communities to get more opportunities for getting vaccinated. It will finish in the year 2023 on 23 June (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). The extra dose is mentioned to be given to children at 6 months of age for those who have an invasive meningococcal medical condition. Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal children who reside in Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia are suggested for free of cost pneumococcal disease under NIP. They are funded to get an additional dose of pneumococcal vaccine at 6 months which is followed by vaccination after 4 and 5 years (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). The dosage and vaccine type will depend on the condition and age of the child who is at higher risk of acquiring the pneumococcal disease. Two extra doses are proposed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people for the disease hepatitis A who are living in Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia at 4 years and 18 months. Vaccine for influenza is free of cost for indigenous people who are of 6 years of age and are above that. Policies also mentioned that indigenous community children should receive missed vaccinations who are under 5 years of age (Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020). NIP will fund for these children in their catch-up program. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders children who are between 10-15 years of age will gain their routine vaccine for human papillomavirus, tetanus, meningococcal ACWY, diphtheria and for whooping cough under NIP. Older people who are between 15-49 years will also be given any missed vaccination through NIP(Department of Health, Australian Government, 2020).
Bønnelycke, J., Sandholdt, C.T. and Jespersen, A.P., 2018. Co-designing health promotion at a science centre: Distributing expertise and granting modes of participation. CoDesign. Vol.15, issue.2, pp.128-141. 10.1080/15710882.2018.1434547
Christensen, J.H., Bloch, P., Møller, S.R., Søgaard, C.P., Klinker, C.D., Aagaard‐Hansen, J. and Bentsen, P. 2019. Health in all local policies: Lessons learned on intersectoral collaboration in a community‐based health promotion network in Denmark. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management, vol.34, issue.1, pp.216-231.
Department of Health, Australian Government. 2020. National immunisation program schedule. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule [Accessed on 7 September 2020]
Department of Health, Australian Government. 2020. People with medical risk conditions. Retrieved fromhttps://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/people-with-medical-risk-conditions[Accessed on 7 September 2020]
Department of Health, Australian Government. 2020.Immunisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Retrieved fromhttps://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/immunisation-for-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people[Accessed on 7 September 2020]
Grabowski, D., Aagaard-Hansen, J., Willaing, I. and Jensen, B.B., 2017. Principled promotion of health: Implementing five guiding health promotion principles for research-based prevention and management of diabetes. Societies, vol.7, issue.2, pp.10.
Hempler, N.F., Pals, R.A.S.,Pedersbæk, L. and DeCosta, P. 2018. Barriers and facilitators of effective health education targeting people with mental illness: A theory-based ethnographic study. BMC Psychiatry, vol.18,issue.1, pp.1-10.
Kitching, A.E. and van Rooyen, B., 2020. Key aspects for the sustainable coordination of a process to facilitate holistic well-being in South African schools. Health promotion international, vol.35, issue.4, pp.692-701.
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