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Impact of Integration of Traditional Healthcare Knowledge in Medical Practice For Aboriginals Assessment 2 Answer

Assignment 2: Literature Review

Title: Literature review 
Value: 40% 
Length: 1250 words (+/-10%)
Aim:  To gain an understanding of the existing research and debates relevant to a topic, and to present that knowledge in the form of a written report.
Task: Based on one of the four learning outcomes, select a topic with a manageable scope (e.g. Stolen Generations, disproportionate incarceration rates, integration of traditional healthcare knowledge into mainstream practice, Connection to Country etc.), and frame it as a research question to be investigated using peer-reviewed sources. Your question must examine how your chosen topic impacts the health and/or wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Importantly you need to critically analyse the peer reviewed sources used. d. What topics or questions have not been researched in this field (gaps)? What elements of the peer-reviewed literature that you read provided good evidence for their findings (strengths), and what made you question what they stated (weaknesses)?
Please note: 

• Minimum of six journal articles or academic sources required. There is no ‘maximum’ number of references. 
• Material must be peer reviewed (refereed or scholarly) journals. Peer reviewed articles are written by experts and reviewed by several other experts in the field before the article is published in the journal in order to ensure the article’s quality. (The article is more likely to be scientifically valid, reach reasonable conclusions, etc.) 
• This paper does not require you to explore methodologies. 
• Please read brief guidelines 



The impact of the integration of traditional healthcare knowledge in medical practice for the health and wellbeing of the Aboriginals


Traditional medicines have been most frequently utilized choices for the healthcare of the patients. However, integration of traditional medicines in the mainstream healthcare practice needs an understanding of its safety, efficacy, action mechanism in the healthcare of the Aboriginals community. In this literature review, the efficacy of traditional medicine when utilized in mainstream healthcare needs to be explored. Through a review of the peer-reviewed journal, one can evaluate the difficulties that can be encountered in the study and integrating the traditional medicine (TM) with an attempt to conform its utilization like the conventional medicine.   

The articles that have been selected in the study are from Google scholar that includes various experimental, descriptive, quasi-experimental studies which will help in the evaluation of the extent the integration of TM is possible with the mainstream healthcare with the adequate knowledge gained related to its safety and efficacy. Folk medicines are one of the types of traditional knowledge that are orally transmitted amongst the Aboriginal community through generations.

Even though these traditional medicines have not been formalized not have been studied intricately to be adopted in conventional practices. The current study will highlight the gap in the available research on the effectiveness of traditional medicines and whether they can be used with modern medicines for the treatment of the indigenous population. 

Research Question 

What is the extent the integration of the traditional knowledge on healthcare impacts on the mainstream practice affecting the health and wellbeing of the Aboriginals?

Literature Review 

According to Yuan, Ma, Ye and Piao (2016), TMP or the traditional medicine practice existing within the Aboriginal population in Australia have been encountered with a holistic worldview. It also reflects the definition of health provided by the World Health organization contributing to the physical, social, and mental wellbeing and not just the absence of any illness or disease. As mentioned by Ijaz & Boon (2018), good health is a complex system that involves an interconnectedness with the recognition in ancestry and spirit with the physical, emotional, mental and social wellbeing of the community and individual.  

According to the Aboriginal community, ill-health was categorized into three categories. This includes physical cause, sickness due to magic or sorcery or harm caused by spirits. Nevertheless, with the colonization, displacement and disconnection of the individuals from their traditional land results in the impact of the traditional practice of the medicine within the community (Nalau et al., 2018). The Alma-Ata declaration in the primary health care of Aboriginals stated by the World Health Organization that there should proper rules and regulations so that there is an improvement in the use of traditional medicine. The primary health care of the Aboriginals is controlled by ACCHS. 

ACCHS have initiated the delivery of the care services through culturally appropriate and holistic health care of the community. As mentioned by the OATSIH or the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health reports that the healthcare re services in between the year 2010 to 2011 include traditional healing as well as bush medicines as a part of the primary health care.  As mentioned by Auger and Tonya Gomes (2016), there were health clinics that were employed with storage as well as the use of bush medicines. In addition, Amery (2017) mentions that these bush medicines within the Northern territories had an important role in the treatment of infected scabies and sores.  There is certain evidence that has been highlighted by Calma, Dudgeon and Bray (2017), that the Akeyulerre Healing Centre at Alice Springs provides TMP which is the combination of TH as well as bush medicines. These medicines were used for the treatment of a range of illness and diseases that included wounds, headaches, skin rashes, sore muscles, colds and flu. 

As emphasized by Nalau et al., (2018), the traditional practice of medicines is still practised by the Aboriginal community in Australia that is based on the beliefs and culture related to the causation of the disease (Shrivastava, Couturier, Girard, Papineau & Emami 2020). Further, the TM usage also depends on the presentation of the illness availability of the biomedical treatments and accessibility of bush medicines and traditional healers. However, as mentioned by Redvers, Marianayagam and Blondin (2019), in order to effectively integrate the traditional medicinal practice, there is a need of governance models involving the practice of traditional medicine which can result in the positive impact in the primary healthcare and wellbeing of the Aboriginals. 

According to the studies of Park and Canaway (2019), the traditional medicines and the health beliefs amongst the Aboriginals were interconnected with various aspects that included kinship obligations, religion and land. It was believed that causing the disease was due to the dysfunction in the spiritual and social structure.  As mentioned by Rogers (2019), there is an alternate model that is used to explain the health status of any Aboriginals where the normal individuals were differentiated from a sick or diseased person. 

Amongst the sick, the supernatural and spiritual influences are those disease that resulted in ultimate causes like vehicle accidents, chronic illness and premature or sudden deaths.  As explained by Yuan, Ma, Ye and Piao (2016), this basic model of Aboriginals defining the disease or illness can help in overcoming the differences in the treatment process in between the Western and Aboriginal health models. Understanding the traditional health models of the Aboriginals that results in causing the disease will assist the western healthcare professionals in providing better clinical interactions. 

Critical Analysis 

In spite of the evidence of the utilization of the traditional medicines in the health care of the Aboriginals were observed, nevertheless, as mentioned by Amery (2017), there is a lack of adequate data related to its service provision.  There is an absence of sufficient details related to how often healthcare services with traditional medicines were provided to the Aboriginals are absent. Even though there were literature and studies that mentioned about the use of traditional medical knowledge how these services provided are unavailable in terms of biomedical healthcare. Hence it can be said that insufficient evidence, including a descriptive analysis of the TMP within primary, were not available.

 In addition, there is also a lack in the sufficient academic literature that suggested that the traditional medicines were effective even though there are mentions of the TM being practised amongst the various communities in Australia. Other aspects, as highlighted by Park and Canaway (2019), the main drawbacks behind the delivery of western healthcare to the Aboriginal community is the gender division among the community.  This pushes the individual within the community to emphasize on their obligations and social responsibilities over their health. 

In such cases, traditional health knowledge and belief can play an efficient role in bringing social control so that the illness can be prevented (Yuan, Ma, Ye & Piao, 2016).  The preventive measures through TM would develop a behaviour of avoiding dangerous patterns of behaviour and practices, rituals and prescriptions that would safeguard the individuals from illness. 

Nevertheless, there exists a difference in perception within the community related to disease and ill health that can impact on the management of health. This posed a challenge in the integration of TM as the western health care professionals lacked understanding of the belief system and the link in between the health and traditional knowledge within the Aboriginals.  


From the study, it can be concluded that the integration of TM with western medical practice becomes a challenge only when there is a lack of adequate information and evidence related to the effectiveness of TM. This also creates difficulty in the interaction between the Aboriginal patient and the health care professional. It results in the existence of two separate versions of health beliefs and reality between the health professional and the patient. The barrier is the lack of a conceptual framework based on which the health professional can integrate TM in medical practice. So that it will be compliant with medical care and also support the wellbeing of the Aboriginal community.

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