Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

Three new valuable resources are available on the HealthInfoNet website:

‘Closing the gap’ progress reports: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance facts are now available on the HealthInfoNet website

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet now has a dedicated section which provides information about and links to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance reports.   The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (HPF), was designed to ‘support a comprehensive and coordinated effort both across and beyond the health sector to address the complex and interrelated factors’ that contribute to the health disadvantages experienced by Indigenous people. The HPF, was also seen as ‘an opportunity to streamline reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and health care delivery’.

The Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council agreed to provide reports against the HPF biennially commencing in 2006. Copies of these reports are now easily accessed in this new section.

The HPF, provides reporting against three tiers:

o    Tier 1-Health status and outcomes: measures of prevalence of disease or injury, human function, life expectancy and wellbeing

o    Tier 2-Determinants of health: measures of the determinants of health, including socioeconomic status, environmental factors and health behaviours

o    Tier 3-Health system performance: measures of the health system, including effectiveness, responsiveness, accessibility and sustainability, and how they are changing over time

A new web resource for Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) workers

is now available on the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website – a free resource supporting those working to help ‘close the gap’ in Indigenous health. The SEWB web resource was funded by the Department of Health and Ageing through the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. The Indigenous SEWB workers web resource is the result of the Council of Australian Governments’ Improving the capacity of workers in Indigenous communities initiative, and was also informed by a scoping study commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing in 2009. The web resource aims to empower the Indigenous SEWB workforce, and build the capacity of the workforce to identify and address mental health issues and associated substance use issues. The web resource consolidates access to, and promotes awareness of, appropriate publications, resources, and mental health screening/assessment tools nationally.

The Overview of Australian Indigenous health status 2011

has been released and is now freely available from the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet website. Also available this year is a Power Point which contains tables and key facts from the Overview.  The Overview provides a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health of Indigenous people. The Overview contains information about:

o    the context of Indigenous health

o    births and pregnancy outcomes

o    mortality

o    hospitalisation

o    selected health conditions (cardiovascular health, cancer, diabetes, social and emotional wellbeing, kidney health, injury, respiratory health, communicable disease, eye health, ear health, oral health and disability)

o    health risk and protective factors (nutrition, physical activity, bodyweight, immunisation, breastfeeding, tobacco smoking, alcohol use and illicit drug use).

There have been significant reductions in recorded mortality in recent years, and there have been substantial improvements in the overall impact of many infectious diseases partly due to immunisation programs. The Overview has been prepared by the HealthInfoNet as part of its effort to help ‘close the gap’ by providing the evidence base to inform practice and policy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The HealthInfoNet makes relevant high quality knowledge and information readily accessible to policy makers, health service providers, program managers, clinicians, researchers and the general community.

Working in the area of translational research with a population health focus, the HealthInfoNet is helping to ‘close the gap’ in health between Indigenous and other Australians. The HealthInfoNet makes research and other information available in a form that has immediate, practical utility for practitioners and policy makers in the area of Indigenous health enabling to make decisions based on the best available evidence. It is for people interested in improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians.

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