Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives of childhood respiratory illness (#62)

Anna M Bell 1
  1. Children's Health Qld, South Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Respiratory illness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is a serious and important issue. However, the perspectives of Indigenous people directly impacted by respiratory illness are rarely heard. This research privileged the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, carers and family members of children with respiratory illness. In a series of focus groups held in the northern and southern suburbs of Brisbane, participants openly shared their thoughts, feelings and beliefs around illness, wellness, culture and family. They discussed how they managed to balance the care of and advocacy for their child with the maintenance of their familial, cultural and community obligations. Participants shared how their culture affected the way they perceived and made sense of their child’s illness. They also shared their unique experiences within mainstream health care systems not designed to meet the cultural and emotional needs of their family. The results illustrated that even though participants led lives full of intense stress and multiple responsibilities, they drew strength from their cultural connections, their identity and their community.