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Patterns of Health and Illness in Indigenous Australian Communities: 

Patterns of Health and Illness in Indigenous Australian Communities Dr Ross Bailie Associate Professor in Public Health Flinders NT Clinical School Menzies School of Health Research Ph 08-89228835 or 08-89228196 Fax 08-89275187 email: ross.bailie@menzies.edu.au

Learning Objectives: 

Learning Objectives Patterns of morbidity and mortality Underlying determinants

Performance Objectives: 

Performance Objectives To use your understanding of patterns and determinants of health and illness in your everyday practice with Indigenous people

Sources of Information and Acknowledgements: 

Sources of Information and Acknowledgements Australian Indigenous Health Infonet web site

Definition of Indigenous status: 

Definition of Indigenous status An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she is associated. http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/html/html_keyfacts/keyfacts_faq.htm (Barnes, White, & Ross 1997)

Population distribution: 

Population distribution Total estimated Indigenous population ~418,800-476,900 (projection for June 2000 based on the 1996 census) 2.2-2.5% of the total Australian population http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/html/html_keyfacts/keyfacts_faq.htm

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Indigenous Non-Indigenous Age group Percentage of population

Population distribution (continued): 

Population distribution (continued) Age distribution related to patterns of health and illness Age distribution typical of a developing country population Chronic diseases occur at a relatively young age

Standardised Mortality Ratios for selected causes of death, WA, SA, NT (1995-97): 

Standardised Mortality Ratios for selected causes of death, WA, SA, NT (1995-97) CAUSE OF DEATH Males Females Circulatory 2.9 2.5 Injuries 3.2 3.5 Respiratory 5.2 6.0 Cancer 1.4 1.4 Endocrine 6.1 12.0 Digestive 5.1 5.5 All causes 3.0 3.0

Infant mortality rates for the Indigenous and total populations, WA, SA, and the NT, 1996 (infant deaths per 1000 live births): 

State/ Total Territory Indigenous Population Ratio WA 24.1 6.5 3.7 SA 12.6 4.9 2.6 NT 19.4 11.5 1.7 Infant mortality rates for the Indigenous and total populations, WA, SA, and the NT, 1996 (infant deaths per 1000 live births)

Morbidity: 

Morbidity Respiratory disease Injury Cardiovascular disease Diabetes Renal disease

Morbidity (continued): 

Morbidity (continued) Metabolic syndrome Communicable disease Cancer

Births and pregnancy outcome: 

Births and pregnancy outcome Fertility rates Low birth weight

Trends: 

Trends Widening disparity Contrast with other countries

Determinants of Health Status: 

Determinants of Health Status Colonial history Education Employment Income Housing

Determinants of Health Status (continued): 

Determinants of Health Status (continued) Relative and absolute disadvantage Control

Education: 

Education Poor attendance, retention, and outcomes Geographic variability

Percentage of NT students achieving national reading benchmarks in 1998 (from Learning lessons - An independent review of Indigenous education in the Northern Territory): 

Percentage of NT students achieving national reading benchmarks in 1998 (from Learning lessons - An independent review of Indigenous education in the Northern Territory) NT Student Group Year 3 Year 5 Non-Indigenous, Urban 82% 78% All students, Urban 78% 71% Indigenous, Urban 54% 36% Indigenous, Non-Urban 6% 4%

Links between health, education and socio-economic status: 

Links between health, education and socio-economic status Vicious cycle

Employment: 

Employment Unemployment > 2 x higher Pastoral industry Racism Education

Employment (continued): 

Employment (continued) Unskilled labour CDEP

Income: 

Income Low paid jobs Government payments

Housing and physical environment: 

Housing and physical environment Infrastructure Urban/rural/remote disparity

Conclusion: 

Conclusion Marked disparities in health status Underlying determinants Strategies

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