Mr Justin Mohamed, Chair of NACCHO representing over 150 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations throughout Australia has welcomed an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) that highlights the fact that health trends among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are improving in many areas.
The report, Healthy for Life: results for July 2007– June 2011, which focuses on the program for improving maternal and child health care and improving prevention, early detection and management of chronic disease, shows rises in average birth weight, drops in maternal drinking and smoking, and increases in the proportion of clients with health assessments and care plans.
Mr Mohamed said he was also pleased to report that a majority of the 100 health services funded were Aboriginal community controlled members of NACCHO providing services and collecting data on 10 Essential Indicators and some qualitative indicators relating to organisational structure and care provision related to the key objectives.
The services used in this report are located in all states and territories and across all geographical areas of Australia, providing over 1.1 million episodes of care to 180,000 clients.
“For the first time, this report provides information on both quantitative and qualitative indicators over the lifetime of the HfL program, collated at the national level. Overall, as reported by AIHW there have been several improvements in health and healthy behaviors,’
We also agree with a key finding that more people with chronic disease are being well managed through our primary health care services,’ Mr Mohamed said.
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The AIHW Healthy for Life report findings include
1. The proportion of babies with normal birthweight rose from 80.0% to 84.2%, while babies with low birth weight dropped from 15.2% to 13.5% between 2008 and 2011 and average birthweight rose from 3,015 grams to 3,131 grams.’
2. Alcohol was consumed by 17.9% of women in the third trimester of pregnancy in 2011—a drop from 21.4% since 2008.
3. Among mothers, there was a very small drop in the proportion who smoked during the third trimester of pregnancy—from 53.4% to 52.4% between 2008 and 2011—an aspect where there is scope for considerable further improvement.
4. In 2011, two in three women attended their first antenatal visit before 20 weeks of pregnancy.’
5. Increases were seen in the proportions of people with chronic diseases such as diabetes and coronary heart disease who had a GP management plan as part of their treatment.
6. The proportion of clients who had an MBS GP management plan rose from 24.8% to 31.6% of people with Type 2 diabetes between 2008 and 2011 and from 22.9% to 33.4% for people with coronary heart disease.
7. The proportion of people with Type 2 diabetes who had a blood pressure test in the last 6 months increased by nearly 10 percentage points from 52.7% to 62.3% between 2007 and 2011.