This report provides the latest information on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Australia are faring according to a range of indicators on health status, determinants of health and health system performance. Indicators are based on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. The report highlights the main areas of improvement and continuing concern. For example, while death rates for Indigenous infants and Indigenous people of all ages have declined since 1991, more than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers smoke during pregnancy and unemployment rates continue to remain higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.
The report finds areas of improvement in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South Australia including:
- an 18% decline in total mortality and a 22% decline in avoidable mortality from 1991-2010
- a 27% decline in deaths due to circulatory disease, the leading cause of death for Indigenous Australians from 1997-2010
- a 62% decline in infant mortality rates from 1991-2010, and a significant narrowing of the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
- a lower perinatal mortality rate for Indigenous babies than non-Indigenous babies for the period 2006-2010 (4.7 compared with 6.2 per 1,000 births)
- a significant increase in adult health assessments recorded through Medicare since the introduction of the National Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes in July 2009
- corresponding increases in allied health-care services claimed by Indigenous Australians through Medicare since 1 July 2009. Rates of general practitioner management plans and team care arrangements are higher for Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians in South Australia
- an increase in episodes of care by Indigenous primary healthcare services between 2008-09 and 2010-11 (from 191,269 to 221,809)
- immunisation coverage for Indigenous children is similar to non-Indigenous children by age 2
- an increase in the proportion of pregnant women attending antenatal care
- a 29% decline in the rate of low birthweight between 2000 and 2009
- some improvements in literacy for Indigenous students in Year 7 and 9 between 2008 and 2011.
Areas of concern include:
- high rates of smoking during pregnancy (58%)
- lower rates of access to antenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy
- almost two-thirds (63%) of those aged 18 years and over in non-remote areas of South Australia have a disability or long-term health condition
- incidence of treated end-stage renal disease is currently 12 times the rate for non- Indigenous Australians
- high rates of hospitalisation and deaths due to injury (particularly assault, suicide and transport accidents)
- barriers to accessing appropriate health care, such as cultural competency, continue to remain a problem
- lower access to procedures in hospitals
- a large unmet need for dental care for Indigenous children.