Health status in Australia and developing countries

As a developed country, Australia’s health status and human development is significantly greater than that of developing countries.

You have to know that Australia has lower: morbidity, mortality, and burden of disease; and higher life expectancy and HDI than developing countries.  It’s also good to know that Australia has significantly lower infant, under-five and maternal mortality rates, and has higher mortality rates from non-communicable diseases, whereas developing countries have higher mortality from communicable diseases.

However, that’s all the theory you have to know.  In the exam, you’re only likely to get data analysis questions, like this one from the 2013 VCAA exam: “Using information from the table, explain how access to healthcare might account for the difference in life expectancy between Australia and Swaziland.” (4 marks)

How you answer this is based on the number of marks; as this is worth four marks, you must make four main points.

You could say:

“In Australia, an extremely high rate of births (99%) are attended by skilled health personnel. Thus, both pregnant women and newborn babies are less likely to become ill or die during childbirth, leading to a low maternal and under-five mortality rate.” (1 mark)

Now link to Swaziland for another mark:

“In contrast, Swaziland has a low rate of births attended by skilled health personnel (74%). Thus, pregnancies in Swaziland are more likely to have negative consequences, because they more often lack the skills, expertise and experience of skilled health personnel that are present in Australian births. This may partially explain the difference in life expectancy between Australia (82 years) and Swaziland (49 years).”

Then, for two more marks, repeat that process for another piece of information in the table.

However, questions regarding difference in health outcomes of Australia and developing countries may also ask for factors that lead to these differences. These questions will generally not provide data and statistics; you’ll be discussing the impact of factors on health status to explain why these differences occur!