Health Priorities in Australia

These areas may have a level of overlap within the six priority areas which have been defined therefore it is important to understand these areas on their own before the priority overlaps between them can be discussed. The NHPA (National Health Priority Areas) themselves were created as a response to global agenda put forward by the WHO (World Health Organisation) which was to focus on those areas which make up the majority of patient cases around the world (Browne et. al., 2000). The priority areas for Australian health are overseen by the National Health Priority Action Council (NHPAC) that is made up of commonwealth, state, regional as well as local governments (AIHW, 2005).
There are two primary objectives the NHPAC looks at before considering any health related problem as a priority areas. First, the NHPAC examines whether making a health issue a priority objective could significantly contribute towards lessening the burden of illness and injury on Australians. Second, the NHPAC sees if the area to be focused on will improve health related issues and if it will decrease the burden on our health system which is due to the diseases included in the priority area (AIHW, 2005).
It is important to note that the NHPA did not start with the seven priority areas mentioned above because it shows that the NHPA is not a static body. Rather, like other scientific organisations, it is looking towards expanding itself and improving its position through active research and analysis which shows how the addition of a priority area can be beneficial for public health. Historically speaking, the NHPA initiative began with only four areas i.e. cardiovascular health, cancer control, injury prevention and mental health (AIHW, 2005).
With time, Diabetes was added to the priority areas in 1997 with asthma being added in 1999 and musculoskeletal issues being added in 2002. It is clear that the government is not picking diseases randomly from the