Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

A measure of community functioning (#95)

Debra A Reid 1
  1. D A Reid and company, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Community functioning is one of 68 measures within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. The framework provides a comprehensive national picture of health outcomes, determinants of health and health system performance relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Community functioning is distinguished from the other measures within the framework as it was developed to reflect the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to articulate to policymakers what things are important for improving quality of life and health from this perspective. It is a strengths-based model based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ perspectives. To develop the measure, national workshops were held and findings considered along with literature such as Amartya Sen’s Development as Freedom and Martha Nussbaum’s work on individual capabilities. This work is an important supplement to the more traditional approach to the measurement of health and wellbeing. The measure adds value to health analyses by helping to frame traditional health indicators within a quality of life construct defined by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Life is multidimensional and it cannot easily or accurately be measured by reference to just one facet. Health providers, planners and health and social policy interests need to know more than the level of sickness in a community if they are to work with communities and families to achieve a healthy life.