Burden of Disease and Injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Queensland 2007In the first half of 2012 the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Branch, Queensland Health, along with Burden of Disease expert Stephen Begg (Strategic Policy, Funding and Intergovernmental Relations Branch, Queensland Health) undertook a refresh of Burden of Disease and Injury results specifically for Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Queensland Government commitment to close the gap in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians, along with the recent development of experimental life tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland by remoteness for 2005–07 (Health Statistics Centre 2012), provided the impetus to refresh the burden of disease and injury estimates for Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for 2007.
The Burden of Disease and Injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2003 Report was the first complete assessment of the burden of disease in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia. Equivalent results have been generated for Queensland using a combination of the burden of disease analyses for the whole of Queensland, with the results of the national Indigenous study incorporated to provide 2003 and 2006 broad estimates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.
The 2007 Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Burden of Disease and Injury 2007 update is significantly different from the 2003 and 2006 updates and the original study, as it includes revised life tables by ARIA category for Major Cities, Regional (inner and outer regional) and Remote (remote and very remote) for Queensland, and a revised cause of death structure for Queensland. It also includes a limited refresh of a number of the epidemiological models for the non-fatal contribution to the burden, and the use of Queensland specific risk factor exposure data in a number of the risk factor models.
Closing the Gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Life ExpectancyQueensland Health has developed a series of life tables for the period 2005–07 by remoteness, as well as retrospective life tables for the period 2002–04. The life tables have been developed in order to:
- produce retrospective mortality indices and life expectancy estimates in order to reconstruct recent mortality trends and establish trajectories to guide future policy interventions;
- understand patterns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality at sub-state level, particularly by remoteness, to help focus resources where they are needed most;
- measure the gaps in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians in Queensland by remoteness and the recent trends; and
- examine the sources of improvements in life expectancy, in respect of age groups and leading causes of deaths that have contributed to these improvements.
Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander IdentificationOver a two year period from 2009 to 2011, Queensland Health has undertaken a project to improve the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples accessing services. The state-wide project focuses on understanding issues and implementing solutions at both state and local level. The project has analysed cultural, systems and administrative influences on identification. The project's approach is to develop state-wide resources including audit tools, cultural and educational material, information technology solutions, policy and procedures. The project also resourced and supported a number of projects within Health Service Districts. Local solutions are in the process of development and implementation to address local findings.
The assessment of the Queensland prevalence of risk factors such as smoking, under-consumption of fruit and vegetables, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity will be obtained from the 2011 Australian Health Survey. No information is available for risk factor prevalence in sub-state areas.
Queensland Health is committed to improving Indigenous identification in communicable disease reporting. The Communicable Diseases Branch of Queensland Health routinely monitors Indigenous identification completeness for notifiable conditions; and is participating in national initiatives, through the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA), to bring about improvements.
Queensland hospital separations data are known to have more complete Indigenous identification than the Queensland Notifiable Conditions System (NOCS). In 2007 a large data linkage exercise, which matched records from disease notifications with an extract of records from hospitalisations within Queensland, was undertaken. Notifications in NOCS with no Indigenous status were updated with the Indigenous status from the hospital record. However, this resulted in only a seven per cent improvement in Indigenous status completeness in NOCS. More efficient ways to improve indigenous identification completeness will be progressed in Queensland Health.Top