Healthy for Life (HfL) Program was established with a set of key objectives to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It focuses on mothers, babies and children; early detection and management of chronic disease; and long-term health outcomes. About 100 primary health-care sites across Australia were funded by the Australian Government to collect data on 10 Essential Indicators and some qualitative indicators relating to organisational structure and care provision related to the key objectives. 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.
Baseline data are from 1 July-31 December 2007 for indicators reported every 6 months, and 1 July 2007-30 June 2008 for those reported annually. When interpreting changes over time, it should be noted that the number of clients in services increased throughout the program and this likely affected the trends presented. For example, the number of clients with Type 2 diabetes who had a blood pressure test who were included in this subset of services was 3,643 in the baseline period and 5,057 in the most recent period (which ended 30 June 2011). Findings included:
- The rate of first attendance for antenatal care before 20 weeks of gestation was fairly similar in the baseline reporting period (62.3%) and the most recent period (63.6%).
- The average birthweight increased between the baseline period (3,015 grams) and the most recent period (3,131 grams). The proportion of low birthweight babies decreased slightly from 15.2% to 13.5%. The proportion with normal birthweight increased from 80.0% to 84.2%.
- In the most recent period, the proportion of expectant mothers who smoked, consumed alcohol and used illicit drugs was lower during third trimester antenatal visits (52.4% 17.9%, 17.2%, respectively) than first trimester visits (55.1%, 25.0%, 23.8%).
- The proportion of clients aged 15-54 who had health assessments increased from 11.7% in the baseline period to 15.2% in the most recent period. The proportion aged 55 and over increased from 14.7% to 20.7%. The proportion aged 0-14 decreased slightly from 15.9% to 13.8%.
- The proportion of clients with Type 2 diabetes who had a General Practitioner Management Plan (GPMP) was 24.8% in the baseline period and 31.6% in the most recent period. The proportion of clients who had a Team Care Arrangement (TCA) increased from 15.7% to 21.8%.
- The proportion of clients with coronary heart disease who had a GPMP increased from 22.9% to 33.4%, while the proportion who had a TCA increased from 13.9% to 22.2%.
- The proportion of clients with Type 2 diabetes who had a glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) test in the previous 6 months was 45.7% in the baseline period and 55.8% in the most recent period. The proportion who had a blood pressure test in the last 6 months increased from 52.7% to 62.3%. The proportion who had a blood pressure less than or equal to 130/80mmHg was similar in the two periods (41.0% and 41.6%, respectively).
- The proportion of clients with coronary heart disease who had a blood pressure less than 140/90mmHg was 60.4% in the baseline period and 65.7% in the period ending December 2010.