• Print

Burden of disease is a measure used to assess and compare the relative impact of different diseases and injuries on populations by quantifying health loss due to disease and injury that remains after treatment, rehabilitation or prevention efforts of the health system and society generally.

One measure of burden of disease is disability-adjusted life years or DALYs, which estimate years of life lost due to premature death, as well as years of healthy life lost due to disability from disease and injury.

The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2011

The AIHW is undertaking a project to revise and update Australia’s burden of disease estimates, last updated in 2007. It builds on the AIHW’s previous burden of disease studies and disease monitoring work and aims to identify the extent and distribution of health problems in Australia and to quantify the contribution of key health risks.

The project will provide estimates of the burden of disease for all Australians and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The results, expected in late 2015, will provide information on the amount of health lost due to death and disability from a variety of diseases, injuries and health risks to help determine the total burden of disease in Australia.

Phase 1 will determine the most appropriate method for estimating the burden that selected injuries and diseases place on the Australian community, with particular consideration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This phase will specifically consider the Global Burden of Disease study 2010 published by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation and partners.

Phase 2 will update the burden of disease estimates, including analysis on fatal burden, non-fatal burden, and attributable burden.

The study will contribute to population health monitoring, health policy development, health service planning and research. It will provide a foundation for further assessments, such as in relation to health interventions aiming to prevent or treat the condition, and disease expenditure.

To provide transparency of methods and decision–making processes, the AIHW intends to release a series of working papers over the course of the study.

Funding for the project has been provided by the Australian Government Department of Health and the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.