What is Chronic Disease
Many older Yolngu grew up in a world that never knew chronic disease. By the 1980s, they started to see their people dying 20 years before their time. With the current understanding of disease and sickness, many thought, “Who was doing this to us?”
Balanda also promised Yolngu that if they left their traditional ways (culture) and lived like Balanda, life would be good, and there would be less disease and sickness.
To be able to get people to see that chronic disease has more to do with their own actions than someone else’s actions, we needed to; answer the people’s questions, demystify the very confusing English terms, and give the people real evidence (from within their understanding of the world) as to the source of chronic disease.
Video number one unpacks the meaning of the word chronic and shows how chronic disease is different from infectious diseases. Then it takes a history tour back into traditional culture when there was no chronic disease, and people lived by their ancestors’ tried and tested ngurrnggitj rom culture.
The five pillars of good health are also talked about; good food, fresh water, fresh air, good exercise and good sleep—things readily available in the traditional lifestyle.
The effects of cigarette smoking on adults and children are revealed, leading to increased levels of high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and asthma. Bad foods and sugary drinks are then introduced.
Returning at last to the five pillars of healthy living. One example used. We shower on the outside to keep ourselves clean. We also need to shower inside by drinking fresh water to help wash out our kidneys and stop kidney disease.
We know if we can get Yolngu to drink fresh water, we could cut kidney disease in half across Arnhem Land.
Cultural safety Note: On the advice of our Yolngu cultural advisory team, there are no images of diseased Yolngu and a few dark people in this video. The people want access to knowledge, not to be re-traumatised while watching an information video.