AMA 2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health (Otitis media focus)

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is reported to suffer the highest rates of otitis media in the world. This unacceptably high prevalance has been known for at least 60 years.

The 2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health identifies chronic otitis media as a 'missing piece of the puzzle for Indigenous disadvantage' and calls for an end to the preventable scourge on the health of Indigenous Australians.

Otis media is a build up of fluid in the middle ear cavity, which can become infected. While the condition lasts, mild or moderate hearing loss is experienced. Otitis media is very common in children and for most non-Indigenous children, is readily treated. But for many Indigenous people, otitis media is not adequately treated. It persists in chronic forms over months and years.

This Report Card calls for a national, systematic approach to closing the gap in the rates of chronic otitis media between Indigenous and non-Indigenous infants and children in Australia, and a response to the lasting, disabling effects and social impacts of chronic otitis media in the Indigenous adult population.

2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health

Press release.

Rural Suicide and its Prevention (CRRMH)

In 2016, the number of suicides per 100,000 people in rural and remote Australia was 50% higher than in the cities. This rate gets higher as areas become more remote and has been growing more rapidly than in the cities. The rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice that for non-Indigenous people.

The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health believes that 5 focus areas are needed to address this situation. Two are for immediate action to prevent suicide deaths (now and into the future) and three are designed to prevent deaths in the future. The prevention of rural suicide is not the sole responsibility of health services or of mental health services. There are important roles for governments, private sector, health and welfare institutions, rural and remote communities, and individuals.

Rural Suicide and its Prevention: a CRRMH position paper.

Summary - Rural Suicide and its Prevention: a CRRMH Prevention Paper.

Towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander violence prevention framework for men and boys

Towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander violence prevention framework for men and boys was developed by a knowledge circle of recognised experts, including health workers, researchers and community members. It was supported by White Ribbon Australia and published by the Healing Foundation.

The report found higher than average rates of family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can be linked to specific factors such as Intergenerational Trauma, the destruction of positive cultural practices and ongoing disadvantage.

The report promotes 6 critical factors proven to lead to long term success for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, by studying programs at Dardi and others in WA, NSW and the Northern Territory. The report also calls for programs to involve an historic context and focus on healing families and communities collectively, co-designing programs with community and supporting strong men into mentoring roles.


Press release.

Trends in Indigenous mortality and life expectancy 2001–2015: evidence from the enhanced mortality database

This report examines Indigenous mortality and life expectancy during the period 2001 to 2015, based on evidence from the Enhanced Mortality Database. The study observed increases in life expectancy during the study period for both Indigenous males and females across most jurisdictions. Life expectancy however increased faster among non-Indigenous than among Indigenous males and females. As a result, there was little change in the life expectancy gap.

Report page.

WayAhead: Access more than 5000 mental health and related services for free

The WayAhead Directory is a searchable online database that anyone in the community can use to access local mental health and related services. These services also include community support organisations, legal, employment and recreation services and information resources when and where they're needed.

Currently, the WayAhead Directory lists information on more than 5,600 mental health and other related services. Search results are determined by location and can be filtered by demographic subgroups, types of services and more.

The WayAhead Directory.

Spinal cord injury, Australia:7 new AIHW reports:

Spinal cord injury from traumatic causes imposes a heavy physical, psychological and economic burden on the injured people, their families and society, because it often results in a high level of long-term disability and morbidity and in increased mortality risk.

This collection of reports provides data from 2008-09 to 2013-14 on the incidence of traumatic spinal cord injury, the people injured, the care provided to them, and the causes of the injuries. Each reporting year is covered in its own report, and, in addition, the older years of data are summarised in Spinal cord injury, Australia: summary 2008-09 to 2012-13.

The latest report shows that in 2013-14, 236 new incident cases of spinal cord injury due to external causes were reported to the Australian Spinal Cord Injury Register. Males accounted for 81% of traumatic spinal cord injury cases. Land transport crashes (46%) were the leading mechanism of injury followed by falls (32%). Nearly half (45%) occurred while the person was engaged in a sport or leisure activity.

Spinal cord injury, Australia: summary 2008-09 to 2012-13.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2008-09.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2009-10.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2010-11.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2011-12

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2012-13.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2013-14.

Medicines for cardiovascular disease [AIHW]

Cardiovascular medicines are key elements in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease. This bulletin uses data on supply, general practitioner (GP) prescriptions, use and expenditure to highlight that cardiovascular medicines are most commonly used to help control levels of blood pressure and blood lipids, such as cholesterol.

Key findings:

* Over 100 million Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme/Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescriptions for cardiovascular medicines were dispensed to the Australian community in 2015. These comprised one-third (34%) of the total prescription medicines dispensed.

* Blood pressure lowering medicines (such as perindopril and irbesartan) and blood cholesterol lowering medicines (such as atorvastatin and rosuvastatin) were the most commonly dispensed prescription medicines in Australia in 2015.

* Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of all medications prescribed by GPs in 2015-16 were for the cardiovascular system, at a rate of 9.4 per 100 problems managed. Many of these prescriptions included orders for repeats.

* Almost three-quarters (72%) of the estimated 4.1 million Australians who reported having a cardiovascular condition in 2014-15 had used a cardiovascular system medicine in the previous fortnight.

Medicines for cardiovascular disease