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Determinants of Health and Australia’s healthcare system

Determinants of health fall into many categories which includes social and economic factors, individual behavior and physical environment that are interrelated and have a great impact on health.
Social and economic factors include exposure to violence and crime, transportation and public safety, socioeconomic conditions such as poverty, education, employment, income and social norms like discrimination. Accidents happen unexpectedly especially road accidents between motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles, pollution from burning fuels and industrial wastes discharged to the environment, communicable diseases, urban housing problems and poor working conditions are only few evidence of health impacts from social and economic determinants. (WHO, 2018)
Physical activity, diet, alcohol, cigarette and other drug use are examples of individual behavior determinants of health. Smoking increases the chance of a person having a lung cancer or develop heart disease, so when a person quits smoking, the risk of having such disease is greatly reduced. (ODPHP, 2014) Having a physical activity such as exercise could increase life span, improve mental health as well as immune functions.
The Australian health care system has a complex division of responsibilities and roles across levels of government and it has also marked a complex interplay of public and private sectors (CMWF, 2018). The health care system in Australia provides universal access to a comprehensive range of services largely publicly funded through tax. Australians are provided with Medicare which is the Federal funded health insurance scheme that provides free or subsidized health care services. All Australians are eligible to be treated in a public hospital without charge.
With Indigenous health, the system is less accessible and less efficient. Also, those people in remote areas are not getting the care they need especially when they need it the most. When it comes to dental care there are approximately 19% of middle income earners, 11.2% wealthiest and 27.2% disadvantaged people who delayed or didn’t consult or see a dentist due to cost. (Duckett, 2018) Based on the website of the Department of Defence, there is a National ADF Family Health Program which is available to all ADF recognised dependants that offers access to free basic health care. They can reimburse for GP visits, all Medicare-recognised services and a range of allied health care such as dental care, optometry and physiotherapy. For ADF members either on or off base they can access medical and dental treatment, mental health services, ambulance transport and hospitalisation.

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