Overview of Australian Indigenous health status, December 2009

Document Type



Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

Place of Publication

Mt Lawley, Western Australia


Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet


Thomson, N., MacRae, A., Burns, J., Catto, M., Debuyst, O., Krom, I., Potter, C., Ride, K., Stumpers, S., Urquhart, B.. (2009). Overview of Australian Indigenous health status, December 2009. Perth: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

Available here.


This overview has been prepared by the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet as a part of our efforts to contribute to improvements in Australian Indigenous health by making relevant, high quality knowledge and information easily accessible to policy makers, health service providers, program managers, clinicians, researchers and the general community.

The main purpose of the overview is to provide a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health of Indigenous people. It is beyond the scope of the overview to analyse trends in the various indicators, so it tends to draw attention to the persisting poor health status of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. It is important to acknowledge that some improvements have occurred in Indigenous health status.

Research for the overview involved the collection, collation, and analysis of a wide range of relevant information, including both published and unpublished material. Sources included government reports, articles in journals and other periodicals, books and book chapters, and reports from specific studies and projects.

The overview draws on information from the main administrative data collections (such as the birth and death registration systems and the hospital inpatient collections) and national surveys. Information from these sources has been published mainly in government reports, particularly those produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Importantly, the overview draws also on a wide variety of other information sources, including registers for specific diseases and other conditions, regional and local surveys, and numerous epidemiological and other studies examining particular diseases, conditions, and health determinants. Information from these sources is disseminated mainly through journals and similar periodicals, or in special reports (such as the annual reports of the Australia and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry (ANZDATA)).

A number of sections include the results of our own analyses of data obtained from a variety of sources. For example, estimates of the age-adjusted incidence of end-stage renal disease were made using notification data published by ANZDATA. Similarly, information about a number of communicable diseases was derived from data published by the National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research.

The initial sections provide information about the Indigenous population and various measures of population health status. Most sections about specific health conditions comprise an introduction about the condition and evidence of the current burden of the condition among Indigenous people.

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