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The available evidence suggests that Indigenous Australians continue to suffer a greater burden of ill health than the rest of the population. Overall, Indigenous Australians experience lower levels of access to health services than the general population, are more likely than non-Indigenous people to be hospitalised for most diseases and conditions, to experience disability and reduced quality of life due to ill health, and to die at younger ages, than other Australians. Indigenous Australians also suffer a higher burden of emotional distress and possible mental illness than that experienced by the wider community.
Overall, Indigenous Australians experience lower levels of access to health services than the general population, attributed to factors such as proximity, availability and cultural appropriateness of health services, transport availability, health insurance and health services affordability proficiency in English.
In 2004-05, 10% of closed treatment episodes for drug and alcohol use involved clients identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. Issues with collecting Indigenous status and analyses of Indigenous clients use of AODTS services are covered in this section.
Total health spending in 2001-02 was only slightly higher for Indigenous people compared to non-Indigenous people despite Indigenous people experiencing a greater burden of ill-health. Relative health expenditure is marked by use of public versus private health care and access to health services and health benefits.
Nutrition, alcohol consumption, smoking and use of other drugs and substances, are some of the key health risk factors that impact on the health and quality of life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In 2004-05 Indigenous Australians were about three times as likely to be hospitalised as other Australians, in Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory combined. Hospital separations data and the most common reasons Indigenous people are hospitalised are discussed.
Health conditions such as cancer, kidney disease, respiratory disease, notifiable communicable diseases, circulatory system diseases, rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease and ear and hearing problems contribute to the greater burden of ill-health experienced by Indigenous Australians compared to non-Indigenous.
There are large discrepancies in the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous peoples. Information is presented on Indigenous hospitalisations for mental health conditions, Indigenous mortality resulting from mental illness and the incarceration of Indigenous people with a mental health condition.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a shorter life expectancy compared to other Australians. The causes of Indigenous mortality, age at which death occurs and Indigenous perinatal (infant) mortality are explored.
This page provides information about Indigenous mothers and their babies, including discussions of Indigenous fertility rates, the health of Indigenous babies, perinatal mortality and Indigenous ante-natal health programs.
The impact of socio-economic disadvantage, as well as daily stresses of living and connectivity with the social and cultural environment, on the health of Indigenous Australians' health is explored.