Citation

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Hearn, B., Henderson, G., Houston, S., Wade, A. & Walker, B., 1993. Water supply and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health: an overview. AGSO Journal of Australian Geology and Geophysics  14:2-3:135-146. Australian Geological Survey Organisation, Canberra.

Abstract

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have lived successfully on the Australian continent for at least 40 000 years. Their quest for water, based on an intimate knowledge of their environment, particularly in arid Australia, was a skilled and specialised endeavour. Following the European occupation over 200 years ago, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population decreased rapidly due to the ravages of colonisation. Introduced infectious diseases, such as smallpox, typhoid fever, leprosy, and venereal disease, were a major factor in increased mortality and morbidity; tribal land displacement and massacre of some communities was another major factor. The current health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is poorer than that of other Australians. Their pattern of mortality and morbidity shows the burden of both infectious and lifestyle diseases. This poor health status is associated with wide-ranging socioeconomic disadvantage. The environmental living conditions of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remains an impediment to major health improvement. The lack of adequate and safe water supplies is an important factor in the continued poor health status of many communities. A recent national survey of housing and infrastructure needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population centres has improved our understanding of the current water supply situation. Providing a safe adequate water supply alone will not automatically result in any significant improvement in health. Many other factors are involved. However, safe water is the doorway to health and health is the prerequisite for progress, social equity and human dignity (Napalkov, 1992). This paper examines the relationships between water and health and why the many national surveys and enquires have failed to secure a noticeable and sustainable benefit among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence

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Date (publication)

1993

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GA Publication
Journal
Earth Sciences

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English

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ANZLIC Metadata Profile: An Australian/New Zealand Profile of AS/NZS ISO 19115:2005, Geographic information - Metadata

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1.1

Metadata Date Stamp

2015-03-23

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unclassified

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Organisation Name
Geoscience Australia
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Canberra
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Australia
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