THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
4 August 2011
Significant improvements in Indigenous mortality rates have been revealed in a report released today to Government, Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said.
Mr Snowdon said today’s report was the third biennial report from Australia’s state and federal health ministers against the Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework.
“The findings from in the report show encouraging improvements in Indigenous health,” Mr Snowdon said.
“While this is good news, there is still a long way to go to close the gap between Indigenous health outcomes and those of the general population.
“The report highlights areas where improvements still need to be made including chronic diseases and mortality rates continue to grow for cancer and kidney disease. The report also showed no improvement in the instance of diseases such as diabetes.”
Mr Snowdon said the report series was a valuable way to monitor progress in closing the gap in Indigenous health, and to track the factors that underpinned health outcomes.
“Further findings in the report show a 29 per cent decline in deaths due to circulatory disease—the leading cause of death for Indigenous Australians; and a 55 per cent decline in infant mortality rates, an increase in antenatal care, and greater immunisation coverage for children,” he said.
“Other improvements included a small but significant decrease in smoking rates, an increase in episodes of care by Indigenous primary healthcare services, and a narrowing of the gap for all-cause mortality and avoidable mortality.”
Mr Snowdon said the report highlighted other factors that affect a person’s health such as education and employment, overcrowding in housing, contact with the criminal justice system and the fact that almost half of all Indigenous Australians are in the bottom 20 per cent of equivalent household incomes. Access to health care was also important.
Copies of the report, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework document, are now available on the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing web site http://www.health.gov.au/indigenous-hpf
For more information please contact Mr Snowdon’s office (02) 6277 7820