Heart disease is a leading cause of the gap in burden of disease between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. Our study investigated short- and long-term mortality after admission for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people admitted with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) to public hospitals in New South Wales, Australia, and examined the impact of the hospital of admission on outcomes.
Admission records were linked to mortality records for 60047 patients aged 25–84 years admitted with a diagnosis of AMI between July 2001 and December 2008. Multilevel logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) for 30- and 365-day all-cause mortality.
Aboriginal patients admitted with an AMI were younger than non-Aboriginal patients, and more likely to be admitted to lower volume, remote hospitals without on-site angiography. Adjusting for age, sex, year and hospital, Aboriginal patients had a similar 30-day mortality risk to non-Aboriginal patients (AOR: 1.07; 95% CI 0.83-1.37) but a higher risk of dying within 365 days (AOR: 1.34; 95% CI 1.10-1.63). The latter difference did not persist after adjustment for comorbid conditions (AOR: 1.12; 95% CI 0.91-1.38). Patients admitted to more remote hospitals, those with lower patient volume and those without on-site angiography had increased risk of short and long-term mortality regardless of Aboriginal status.
Improving access to larger hospitals and those with specialist cardiac facilities could improve outcomes following AMI for all patients. However, major efforts to boost primary and secondary prevention of AMI are required to reduce the mortality gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
Hospital performance; Acute myocardial infarction; Ischaemic heart disease; Aboriginal health; Health outcomes; Multilevel modelling; Data linkage
Aims: To document gastroenteritis hospitalisations of the 1995–96 cohort of infants born in Western Australia to mid-2002, and to assess factors associated with their hospitalisations and readmissions.
Methods: Retrospective analysis of the State's hospitalisation data, Midwives' Notification of Births data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics mortality data and clinical and demographic information.
Results: Aboriginal infants were hospitalised for gastroenteritis eight times more frequently than their non-Aboriginal peers, and were readmitted more frequently and sooner for diarrhoeal illnesses than the other group. They also stayed in hospital for twice as long and many Aboriginal patients were hospitalised on numerous occasions. Hospitalisation rates were higher in remote areas and were significantly associated with co-morbidities such as undernutrition, anaemia, co-existing infections, and intestinal carbohydrate intolerance.
Conclusions: Gastroenteritis is very prevalent in Australian Aboriginal infants and children and is a major cause of their hospitalisation in Western Australia. It is often associated with undernutrition, anaemia, intestinal parasitic infestations, other infections, intestinal carbohydrate intolerance, and, in some instances, with low birth weight. This is often due to unhygienic living conditions and behaviours and presents major challenges to public health, health promotion, and clinical personnel, particularly paediatric services. Childhood diarrhoeal diseases occur commonly in other indigenous groups but have not received the attention that they deserve.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (Pnc), nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and Moraxella catarrhalis (Mcat) are the most important bacterial pathogens associated with otitis media (OM). Previous studies have suggested that early upper respiratory tract (URT) bacterial carriage may increase risk of subsequent OM. We investigated associations between early onset of URT bacterial carriage and subsequent diagnosis of OM in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children living in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder region located in a semi-arid zone of Western Australia.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children who had nasopharyngeal aspirates collected at age 1- < 3 months and at least one clinical examination for OM by an ear, nose and throat specialist before age 2 years were included in this analysis. Tympanometry to detect middle ear effusion was also performed at 2- to 6-monthly scheduled field visits from age 3 months. Multivariate regression models were used to investigate the relationship between early carriage and subsequent diagnosis of OM controlling for environmental factors.
Carriage rates of Pnc, NTHi and Mcat at age 1- < 3 months were 45%, 29% and 48%, respectively, in 66 Aboriginal children and 14%, 5% and 18% in 146 non-Aboriginal children. OM was diagnosed at least once in 71% of Aboriginal children and 43% of non-Aboriginal children. After controlling for age, sex, presence of other bacteria and environmental factors, early nasopharyngeal carriage of NTHi increased the risk of subsequent OM (odds ratio = 3.70, 95% CI 1.22-11.23) in Aboriginal children, while Mcat increased the risk of OM in non-Aboriginal children (odds ratio = 2.63, 95% CI 1.32-5.23). Early carriage of Pnc was not associated with increased risk of OM.
Early NTHi carriage in Aboriginal children and Mcat in non-Aboriginal children is associated with increased risk of OM independent of environmental factors. In addition to addressing environmental risk factors for carriage such as overcrowding and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, early administration of pneumococcal-Haemophilus influenzae D protein conjugate vaccine to reduce bacterial carriage in infants, may be beneficial for Aboriginal children; such an approach is currently being evaluated in Australia.
Otitis media; Aboriginal; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Haemophilus influenzae; Moraxella catarrhalis
Objectives: To examine factors that impact on breastfeeding duration among Western Australian Aboriginal children. We hypothesised that Aboriginal children living in remote locations in Western Australia were breastfed for longer than those living in metropolitan locations. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional survey was conducted from 2000 to 2002 in urban, rural and remote settings across Western Australia. Cross-tabulations and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed, using survey weights to produce unbiased estimates for the population of Aboriginal children. Data on demographic, maternal and infant characteristics were collected from 3932 Aboriginal birth mothers about their children aged 0–17 years (representing 22,100 Aboriginal children in Western Australia). Results: 71% of Aboriginal children were breastfed for three months or more. Accounting for other factors, there was a strong gradient for breastfeeding duration by remoteness, with Aboriginal children living in areas of moderate isolation being 3.2 times more likely to be breastfed for three months or more (p < 0.001) compared to children in metropolitan Perth. Those in areas of extreme isolation were 8.6 times more likely to be breastfed for three months or longer (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Greater residential isolation a protective factor linked to longer breastfeeding duration for Aboriginal children in our West Australian cohort.
breastfeeding duration; Australian Aboriginal children; isolation
Otitis media (OM) is the most common paediatric illness for which antibiotics are prescribed. In Australian Aboriginal children OM is frequently asymptomatic and starts at a younger age, is more common and more likely to result in hearing loss than in non-Aboriginal children. Absent transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) may predict subsequent risk of OM.
100 Aboriginal and 180 non-Aboriginal children in a semi-arid zone of Western Australia were followed regularly from birth to age 2 years. Tympanometry was conducted at routine field follow-up from age 3 months. Routine clinical examination by an ENT specialist was to be done 3 times and hearing assessment by an audiologist twice. TEOAEs were measured at ages <1 and 1–2 months. Cox proportional hazards model was used to investigate the association between absent TEOAEs and subsequent risk of OM.
At routine ENT specialist clinics, OM was detected in 55% of 184 examinations in Aboriginal children and 26% of 392 examinations in non-Aboriginal children; peak prevalence was 72% at age 5–9 months in Aboriginal children and 40% at 10–14 months in non-Aboriginal children. Moderate-severe hearing loss was present in 32% of 47 Aboriginal children and 7% of 120 non-Aboriginal children aged 12 months or more.
TEOAE responses were present in 90% (46/51) of Aboriginal children and 99% (120/121) of non-Aboriginal children aged <1 month and in 62% (21/34) and 93% (108/116), respectively, in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children at age 1–2 months. Aboriginal children who failed TEOAE at age 1–2 months were 2.6 times more likely to develop OM subsequently than those who passed.
Overall prevalence of type B tympanograms at field follow-up was 50% (n = 78) in Aboriginal children and 20% (n = 95) in non-Aboriginal children.
The burden of middle ear disease is high in all children, but particularly in Aboriginal children, one-third of whom suffer from moderate-severe hearing loss. In view of the frequently silent nature of OM, every opportunity must be taken to screen for OM. Measurement of TEOAEs at age 1–2 months to identify children at risk of developing OM should be evaluated in a routine health service setting.
Measuring the real burden of cardiovascular disease in Australian Aboriginals is complicated by under-identification of Aboriginality in administrative health data collections. Accurate data is essential to measure Australia's progress in its efforts to intervene to improve health outcomes of Australian Aboriginals. We estimated the under-ascertainment of Aboriginal status in linked morbidity and mortality databases in patients hospitalised with cardiovascular disease.
Persons with public hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in Western Australia during 2000-2005 (and their 20-year admission history) or who subsequently died were identified from linkage data. The Aboriginal status flag in all records for a given individual was variously used to determine their ethnicity (index positive, and in all records both majority positive or ever positive) and stratified by region, age and gender. The index admission was the baseline comparator.
Index cases comprised 62,692 individuals who shared a total of 778,714 hospital admissions over 20 years, of which 19,809 subsequently died. There were 3,060 (4.9%) persons identified as Aboriginal on index admission. An additional 83 (2.7%) Aboriginal cases were identified through death records, increasing to 3.7% when cases with a positive Aboriginal identifier in the majority (≥50%) of previous hospital admissions over twenty years were added and by 20.8% when those with a positive flag in any record over 20 years were incorporated. These results equated to underestimating Aboriginal status in unlinked index admission by 2.6%, 3.5% and 17.2%, respectively. Deaths classified as Aboriginal in official records would underestimate total Aboriginal deaths by 26.8% (95% Confidence Interval 24.1 to 29.6%).
Combining Aboriginal determinations in morbidity and official death records increases ascertainment of unlinked cardiovascular morbidity in Western Australian Aboriginals. Under-identification of Aboriginal status is high in death records.
Objective: To examine trends in road injury hospitalisation rates for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Western Australia.
Methods: Data from the Western Australian Hospital Morbidity Data System for the years between 1971 and 1997 were analysed. Poisson regression models were fitted to determine whether the trends were significant.
Results: The rate of hospitalisation due to road injury for Aboriginal people (719.1 per 100 000 population per year) over the time period examined was almost twice as high as that for non-Aboriginal people (363.4 per 100 000 population per year). Overall, the results showed that while hospitalisations from road injury involving non-Aboriginal people have been decreasing by 6.7% per three year period since 1971, the rates of hospitalisation for Aboriginal people have been increasing by 2.6% per three year period. Both of these trends were statistically significant. The alarming increasing trend observed for Aboriginal people was more pronounced in males, those aged 0–14 years and over 45 years, and for those living in rural areas.
Conclusions: As the rates of road injury for Aboriginal people are higher than for non-Aboriginal people, and are also following an increasing trend, road safety issues involving Aboriginal people need to be addressed urgently by health and transport authorities.
Australia is a wealthy developed country. However, there are significant disparities in health outcomes for Aboriginal infants compared with other Australian infants. Health outcomes tend to be worse for those living in remote areas. Little is known about the health service utilisation patterns of remote dwelling Aboriginal infants. This study describes health service utilisation patterns at the primary and referral level by remote dwelling Aboriginal infants from northern Australia.
Data on 413 infants were analysed. Following birth, one third of infants were admitted to the regional hospital neonatal nursery, primarily for preterm birth. Once home, most (98%) health service utilisation occurred at the remote primary health centre, infants presented to the centre about once a fortnight (mean 28 presentations per year, 95%CI 26.4-30.0). Half of the presentations were for new problems, most commonly for respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal symptoms. Remaining presentations were for reviews or routine health service provision. By one year of age 59% of infants were admitted to hospital at least once, the rate of hospitalisation per infant year was 1.1 (95%CI 0.9-1.2).
The hospitalisation rate is high and admissions commence early in life, visits to the remote primary health centre are frequent. Half of all presentations are for new problems. These findings have important implications for health service planning and delivery to remote dwelling Aboriginal families.
Infectious diarrhoea is common in young Australian Aborigines and is one of the main causes for their unsatisfactory health standards with consequent widespread failure to thrive and undernutrition. Most published reports relate to patients in hospital or to hospital admission statistics and give little indication of the extent or severity of diarrhoeal disease in children in Aboriginal communities. The present investigation involved more than 100 Aboriginal children up to 5 years of age living in remote communities in the tropical north of Western Australia who were studied prospectively over a 12-month period.
Aboriginal Australian children experience profound oral health disparities relative to their non-Aboriginal counterparts. In response to community concerns regarding Aboriginal child oral health in the regional town of Port Augusta, South Australia, a child dental health service was established within a Community Controlled Aboriginal Health Service. A partnership approach was employed with the key aims of (1) quantifying rates of dental service utilisation, (2) identifying factors influencing participation, and (3) planning and establishing a program for delivery of Aboriginal children's dental services that would increase participation and adapt to community needs. In planning the program, levels of participation were quantified and key issues identified through semistructured interviews. After 3.5 years, the participation rate for dental care among the target population increased from 53 to 70 percent. Key areas were identified to encourage further improvements and ensure sustainability in Aboriginal child oral health in this regional location.
Aboriginal Australians have a life expectancy more than ten years less than that of non-Aboriginal Australians, reflecting their disproportionate burden of both communicable and non-communicable disease throughout the lifespan. Little is known about the health and health trajectories of Aboriginal children and, although the majority of Aboriginal people live in urban areas, data are particularly sparse in relation to children living in urban areas.
The Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) is a cohort study of Aboriginal children aged 0-17 years, from urban and large regional centers in New South Wales, Australia. SEARCH focuses on Aboriginal community identified health priorities of: injury; otitis media; vaccine-preventable conditions; mental health problems; developmental delay; obesity; and risk factors for chronic disease. Parents/caregivers and their children are invited to participate in SEARCH at the time of presentation to one of the four participating Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations at Mount Druitt, Campbelltown, Wagga Wagga and Newcastle. Questionnaire data are obtained from parents/caregivers and children, along with signed permission for follow-up through repeat data collection and data linkage. All children have their height, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure measured and complete audiometry, otoscopy/pneumatic otoscopy and tympanometry. Children aged 1-7 years have speech and language assessed and their parents/caregivers complete the Parental Evaluation of Developmental Status. The Study aims to recruit 1700 children by the end of 2010 and to secure resources for long term follow up. From November 2008 to March 2010, 1010 children had joined the study. From those 446 children with complete data entry, participating children ranged in age from 2 weeks to 17 years old, with 144 aged 0-3, 147 aged 4-7, 75 aged 8-10 and 79 aged 11-17. 55% were male and 45% female.
SEARCH is built on strong community partnerships, under Aboriginal leadership, and addresses community priorities relating to a number of under-researched areas. SEARCH will provide a unique long-term resource to investigate the causes and trajectories of health and illness in urban Aboriginal children and to identify potential targets for interventions to improve health.
Long-term measures to reduce tobacco consumption in Australia have had differential effects in the population. The prevalence of smoking in Aboriginal peoples is currently more than double that of the non-Aboriginal population. Aboriginal Health Workers are responsible for providing primary health care to Aboriginal clients including smoking cessation programs. However, Aboriginal Health Workers are frequently smokers themselves, and their smoking undermines the smoking cessation services they deliver to Aboriginal clients. An understanding of the barriers to quitting smoking experienced by Aboriginal Health Workers is needed to design culturally relevant smoking cessation programs. Once smoking is reduced in Aboriginal Health Workers, they may then be able to support Aboriginal clients to quit smoking.
We undertook a fundamental qualitative description study underpinned by social ecological theory. The research was participatory, and academic researchers worked in partnership with personnel from the local Aboriginal health council. The barriers Aboriginal Health Workers experience in relation to quitting smoking were explored in 34 semi-structured interviews (with 23 Aboriginal Health Workers and 11 other health staff) and 3 focus groups (n = 17 participants) with key informants. Content analysis was performed on transcribed text and interview notes.
Aboriginal Health Workers spoke of burdensome stress and grief which made them unable to prioritise quitting smoking. They lacked knowledge about quitting and access to culturally relevant quitting resources. Interpersonal obstacles included a social pressure to smoke, social exclusion when quitting, and few role models. In many workplaces, smoking was part of organisational culture and there were challenges to implementation of Smokefree policy. Respondents identified inadequate funding of tobacco programs and a lack of Smokefree public spaces as policy level barriers. The normalisation of smoking in Aboriginal society was an overarching challenge to quitting.
Aboriginal Health Workers experience multilevel barriers to quitting smoking that include personal, social, cultural and environmental factors. Multidimensional smoking cessation programs are needed that reduce the stress and burden for Aboriginal Health Workers; provide access to culturally relevant quitting resources; and address the prevailing normalisation of smoking in the family, workplace and community.
Aboriginal people, Australia; Health care professionals; Tobacco and health; Smoking cessation; Qualitative research
Intestinal spirochaetal bacteria were isolated from 59 of 181 (32.6%) faecal samples obtained from Aboriginal children and a few adults living in communities in the Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia. Colonization was more common in young Aborigines between 2 and 18 years of age than it was in adults, or in babies and children less than 2 years of age. Three of 22 Aboriginal children who were sampled on two consecutive years were colonized on both occasions. None of four other children were found to be consistently colonized with the bacteria when sampled on three sequential years, but three were positive on two consecutive visits and the other child was positive on the first and third sampling. Most Aboriginal children had abnormal or watery stools, and both abnormal and watery stool samples were significantly more likely to contain spirochaetes than were normal samples. However, it was not possible to prove that the spirochaetes were the cause of the diarrhoea. In contrast, spirochaetes were only recovered from 8 of 695 (1.2%) faecal samples that were obtained from other mainly non-Aboriginal children and adults in Western Australia or the Northern Territory of Australia, even though most of these individuals were suffering from gastrointestinal disturbances.
Most pediatric adenovirus respiratory infections are mild and indistinguishable from other viral causes. However, in a few children, the disease can be severe and result in substantial morbidity. We describe the epidemiologic, clinical, radiologic features and outcome of adenovirus lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) in Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal children in Manitoba, Canada during the years 1991 and 2005.
This was a retrospective study of 193 children who presented to the department of pediatrics at Winnipeg Children's Hospital, Manitoba, Canada with LRTI and had a positive respiratory culture for adenovirus. Patients' demographics, clinical and radiologic features and outcomes were collected. Adenovirus serotype distributions and temporal associations were described. Approximate incidence comparisons (detection rates) of adenovirus LRTI among Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal children were estimated with 95% confidence intervals.
Adenovirus infections occurred throughout the year with clusters in the fall and winter. Serotypes 1 to 3 were the predominant isolates (two thirds of the cases). The infection was more frequent among Canadian Aboriginals, as illustrated in 2004, where its incidence in children 0-4 years old was 5.6 fold higher in Aboriginals (13.51 vs. 2.39 per 10,000, p < 0.000). There were no significant differences in length of hospitalization and use of ventilator assistance between the two groups (p > 0.185 and p > 0.624, respectively) nor across serotypes (p > 0.10 and p > 0.05, respectively). The disease primarily affected infants (median age, 9.5 months). Most children presented with bronchiolitis or pneumonia, with multi-lobar consolidations on the chest x-ray. Chronic (residual) changes were documented in 16 patients, with eight patients showing bronchiectasis on the chest computerized tomography scan.
Adenovirus infection is associated with significant respiratory morbidities, especially in young infants. The infection appears to be more frequent in Aboriginal children. These results justify a careful follow-up for children with adenovirus LRTI.
We used pulsed-field gel electrophoresis to study the epidemiology and population structure of Haemophilus influenzae type b. DNAs from 187 isolates recovered between 1985 and 1993 from Aboriginal children (n = 76), non-Aboriginal children (n = 106), and non-Aboriginal adults (n = 5) in urban and rural regions across Australia were digested with the SmaI restriction endonuclease. Patterns of 13 to 17 well-resolved fragments (size range, ∼8 to 500 kb) defining 67 restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) types were found. Two types predominated. One type (n = 37) accounted for 35 (46%) of the isolates from Aboriginals and 2 (2%) of the isolates from non-Aboriginals, and the other type (n = 41) accounted for 2 (3%) of the isolates from Aboriginals and 39 (35%) of the isolates from non-Aboriginals. Clustering revealed seven groups at a genetic distance of ∼50% similarity in a tree-like dendrogram. They included two highly divergent groups representing 50 (66%) isolates from Aboriginals and 6 (5%) isolates from non-Aboriginals and another genetically distinct group representing 7 (9%) isolates from Aboriginals and 81 (73%) isolates from non-Aboriginals. The results showed a heterogeneous clonal population structure, with the isolates of two types accounting for 42% of the sample. There was no association between RFLP type and the diagnosis of meningitis or epiglottitis, age, sex, date of collection, or geographic location, but there was a strong association between the origin of isolates from Aboriginal children and RFLP type F2a and the origin of isolates from non-Aboriginal children and RFLP type A8b. The methodology discriminated well among the isolates (D = 0.91) and will be useful for the monitoring of postvaccine isolates of H. influenzae type b.
Although Aboriginal adults have a higher risk of end-stage renal disease than non-Aboriginal adults, the incidence and causes of end-stage renal disease among Aboriginal children and young adults are not well described.
We calculated age- and sex-specific incidences of end-stage renal disease among Aboriginal people less than 22 years of age using data from a national organ failure registry. Incidence rate ratios were used to compare rates between Aboriginal and white Canadians. To contrast causes of end-stage renal disease by ethnicity and age, we calculated the odds of congenital diseases, glomerulonephritis and diabetes for Aboriginal people and compared them with those for white people in the following age strata: 0 to less than 22 years, 22 to less than 40 years, 40 to less than 60 years and older than 60 years.
Incidence rate ratios of end-stage renal disease for Aboriginal children and young adults (age < 22 yr, v. white people) were 1.82 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.40–2.38) for boys and 3.24 (95% CI 2.60–4.05) for girls. Compared with white people, congenital diseases were less common among Aboriginal people aged less than 22 years (odds ratio [OR] 0.56, 95% CI 0.36–0.86), and glomerulonephritis was more common (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.55–3.07). An excess of glomerulonephritis, but not diabetes, was seen among Aboriginal people aged 22 to less than 40 years. The converse was true (higher risk of diabetes, lower risk of glomerulonephritis) among Aboriginal people aged 40 years and older.
The incidence of end-stage renal disease is higher among Aboriginal children and young adults than among white children and young adults. This higher incidence may be driven by an increased risk of glomerulonephritis in this population.
Tobacco smoking is a well-recognised risk factor for many diseases . This study assesses the extent of smoking-attributable hospitalisation in the Northern Territory (NT) Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations, and examines smoking-attributable hospitalisation trends for the years 1998/99 to 2008/09.
Hospital discharge data were used for the analysis. The proportion of conditions attributable to tobacco smoking was calculated using the aetiological fraction method. Age-adjusted smoking-attributable hospitalisation rates were calculated to describe the impact of tobacco smoking on the health of Territorians. A negative binominal regression model was applied to examine trends in smoking-attributable hospitalisations.
Aboriginal Territorians were found to have higher rates of smoking-attributable hospitalisation, with Aboriginal males more than three times and Aboriginal females more than four times more likely to be hospitalised for smoking-attributable conditions than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. The age-adjusted hospitalisation rate for Aboriginal males increased by 31% and for Aboriginal females by 18% during the study period. There were more modest increases for NT non-Aboriginal males and females (5% and 17% respectively). The increase among Aboriginal males occurred up until 2005/06 followed by moderation in the trend. There were small reductions in smoking-attributable hospitalisation rates among all populations in younger age groups (less than 25 years).
Aboriginal Territorians experience much higher smoking-attributable hospitalisation rates than non-Aboriginal Territorians. The scale of the smoking burden and suggestion of recent moderation among Aboriginal men reinforce the importance of tobacco control interventions that are designed to meet the needs of the NT’s diverse population groups. Preventing smoking and increasing smoking cessation rates remain priorities for public health interventions in the NT.
Tobacco; Smoking; Attributable; Hospital admission; Condition; Aboriginal; Trend
Despite a lower overall incidence, Aboriginal Australians experience poorer outcomes from cancer compared with the non-Aboriginal population as manifested by higher mortality and lower 5-year survival rates. Lower participation in screening, later diagnosis of cancer, poor continuity of care, and poorer compliance with treatment are known factors contributing to this poor outcome. Nevertheless, many deficits remain in understanding the underlying reasons, with the recommendation of further exploration of Aboriginal beliefs and perceptions of cancer to help understand their care-seeking behavior. This could assist with planning and delivery of more effective interventions and better services for the Aboriginal population. This research explored Western Australian (WA) Aboriginal peoples' perceptions, beliefs and understanding of cancer.
A total of 37 Aboriginal people from various geographical areas within WA with a direct or indirect experience of cancer were interviewed between March 2006 and September 2007. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded independently by two researchers. NVivo7 software was used to assist data management and analysis. A social constructionist framework provided a theoretical basis for analysis. Interpretation occurred within the research team with member checking and the involvement of an Aboriginal Reference Group assisting with ensuring validity and reliability.
Outcomes indicated that misunderstanding, fear of death, fatalism, shame, preference for traditional healing, beliefs such as cancer is contagious and other spiritual issues affected their decisions around accessing services. These findings provide important information for health providers who are involved in cancer-related service delivery.
These underlying beliefs must be specifically addressed to develop appropriate educational, screening and treatment approaches including models of care and support that facilitate better engagement of Indigenous people. Models of care and support that are more culturally-friendly, where health professionals take account of both Indigenous and Western beliefs about health and the relationship between these, and which engage and include Indigenous people need to be developed. Cultural security, removing system barriers and technical/scientific excellence are all important to ensure Indigenous people utilise healthcare to realise the benefits of modern cancer treatments.
Few studies have investigated the prevalence and risk factors of asthma in Canadian Aboriginal children.
To determine the prevalence of asthma and asthma-like symptoms, as well as the risk factors for asthma-like symptoms, in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children living in the northern territories of Canada.
Data on 2404 children, aged between 0 and 11 years, who participated in the North component of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth were used in the present study. A child was considered to have an asthma-like symptom if there was a report of ever having had asthma, asthma attacks or wheeze in the past 12 months.
After excluding 59 children with missing information about race, 1399 children (59.7%) were of Aboriginal ancestry. The prevalence of asthma was significantly lower (P<0.05) in Aboriginal children (5.7%) than non-Aboriginal children (10.0%), while the prevalence of wheeze was similar between Aboriginal (15.0%) and non-Aboriginal (14.5%) children. In Aboriginal children, infants and toddlers had a significantly greater prevalence of asthma-like symptoms (30.0%) than preschool-aged children (21.5%) and school-aged children (11.5%). Childhood allergy and a mother’s daily smoking habit were significant risk factors for asthma-like symptoms in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children. In addition, infants and toddlers were at increased risk of asthma-like symptoms in Aboriginal children. In analyses restricted to specific outcomes, a mother’s daily smoking habit was a significant risk factor for current wheeze in Aboriginal children and for ever having had asthma in non-Aboriginal children.
Asthma prevalence appears to be lower in Aboriginal children than in non-Aboriginal children. The association between daily maternal smoking and asthma-like symptoms, which has been mainly reported for children living in urban areas, was observed in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children living in northern and remote communities in Canada.
Aboriginals; Asthma; Children; Remote area; Risk factors; Smoking
Aboriginal Australians experience poorer outcomes, and are 2.5 times more likely to die from cancer than non-Aboriginal people, even after adjustment for stage of diagnosis, cancer treatment and comorbidities. They are also less likely to present early as a result of symptoms and to access treatment. Psycho-social factors affect Aboriginal people's willingness and ability to participate in cancer-related screening and treatment services, but little exploration of this has occurred within Australia to date. The current research adopted a phenomenological qualitative approach to understand and explore the lived experiences of Aboriginal Australians with cancer and their beliefs and understanding around this disease in Western Australia (WA). This paper details considerations in the design and process of conducting the research.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for ethical conduct of Aboriginal research were followed. Researchers acknowledged the past negative experiences of Aboriginal people with research and were keen to build trust and relationships prior to conducting research with them. Thirty in-depth interviews with Aboriginal people affected by cancer and twenty with health service providers were carried out in urban, rural and remote areas of WA. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded independently by two researchers. NVivo7 software was used to assist data management and analysis. Participants' narratives were divided into broad categories to allow identification of key themes and discussed by the research team.
Discussion and conclusion
Key issues specific to Aboriginal research include the need for the research process to be relationship-based, respectful, culturally appropriate and inclusive of Aboriginal people. Researchers are accountable to both participants and the wider community for reporting their findings and for research translation so that the research outcomes benefit the Aboriginal community. There are a number of factors that influence whether the desired level of engagement can be achieved in practice. These include the level of resourcing for the project and the researchers' efforts to ensure dissemination and research translation; and the capacity of the Aboriginal community to engage with research given other demands upon their time.
OBJECTIVE: To describe disease patterns among children in an isolated aboriginal community, and to compare them with patterns found among other aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadian children. DESIGN: Retrospective review of logbooks and patient charts extracted from nursing station records for all visits to the community's nursing station between April 1, 1990, and March 31, 1991. SETTING: An isolated aboriginal community located in northwestern Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: All aboriginal children younger than 5 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Disease-specific incidence per 100 person-years by age, sex, and season. RESULTS: Upper and lower respiratory tract infections, skin conditions, otitis media, and chickenpox were the leading causes of illness. Except for chickenpox, these illnesses occurred at a significantly higher rate among infants than among children 1 to 4 years old. No important differences were found by sex for any condition, except asthma where boys predominated. Autumn and winter seasonal patterns were most evident for respiratory tract infections. The rate of illness for most conditions was higher than that reported among other aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadian children. CONCLUSIONS: The illnesses most frequently seen in these children are respiratory tract infections and skin conditions. Etiologic factors are likely to be related to multiple interacting forces (both environmental and genetic) and require further investigation.
Ethnic disparities in access to health care and health outcomes are well documented. It is unclear whether similar differences exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with chronic kidney disease in Canada. We determined whether access to care differed between status Aboriginal people (Aboriginal people registered under the federal Indian Act) and non-Aboriginal people with chronic kidney disease.
We identified 106 511 non-Aboriginal and 1182 Aboriginal patients with chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2). We compared outcomes, including hospital admissions, that may have been preventable with appropriate outpatient care (ambulatory-care–sensitive conditions) as well as use of specialist services, including visits to nephrologists and general internists.
Aboriginal people were almost twice as likely as non-Aboriginal people to be admitted to hospital for an ambulatory-care–sensitive condition (rate ratio 1.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.46–2.13). Aboriginal people with severe chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate < 30 mL/min/1.73 m2) were 43% less likely than non-Aboriginal people with severe chronic kidney disease to visit a nephrologist (hazard ratio 0.57, 95% CI 0.39–0.83). There was no difference in the likelihood of visiting a general internist (hazard ratio 1.00, 95% CI 0.83–1.21).
Increased rates of hospital admissions for ambulatory-care–sensitive conditions and a reduced likelihood of nephrology visits suggest potential inequities in care among status Aboriginal people with chronic kidney disease. The extent to which this may contribute to the higher rate of kidney failure in this population requires further exploration.
Routinely collected infectious disease surveillance data provide a valuable means to monitor the health of populations. Notifiable disease surveillance systems in Australia have consistently reported high levels of completeness for the demographic data fields of age and sex, but low levels of completeness for Aboriginality data. Significant amounts of missing data associated with case notifications can introduce bias in the estimation of disease rates by population subgroups. The aim of this analysis was to evaluate the use of data linkage to improve the accuracy of estimated notification rates for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs) in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups in Western Australia.
Probabilistic methods were used to link disease notification data received in Western Australia in 2004 with core population health datasets from the established Western Australian Data Linkage System. A comparative descriptive analysis of STI and BBV notification rates according to Aboriginality was conducted based on the original and supplemented notification datasets.
Using data linkage, the proportion of STI and BBV notifications with missing Aboriginality data was reduced by 74 per cent. Compared with excluding notifications with unknown Aboriginality data from the analysis, or apportioning notifications with unknown Aboriginality based on the proportion of cases with known Aboriginality, the rate ratios of chlamydia, syphilis and hepatitis C among Aboriginal relative to non-Aboriginal people decreased when Aboriginality data from data linkage was included.
Although there is still a high incidence of STIs and BBVs in Aboriginal people, incompleteness of Aboriginality data contributes to overestimation of the risk associated with Aboriginality for these diseases. Data linkage can be effectively used to improve the accuracy of estimated disease notification rates.
Although the impact of Aboriginal status on HIV incidence, HIV disease progression, and access to treatment has been investigated previously, little is known about the relationship between Aboriginal ethnicity and outcomes associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We undertook the present analysis to determine if Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal persons respond differently to HAART by measuring HIV plasma viral load response, CD4 cell response and time to all-cause mortality.
A population-based analysis of a cohort of antiretroviral therapy naïve HIV-positive Aboriginal men and women 18 years or older in British Columbia, Canada. Participants were antiretroviral therapy naïve, initiated triple combination therapy between August 1, 1996 and September 30, 1999. Participants had to complete a baseline questionnaire as well as have at least two follow-up CD4 and HIV plasma viral load measures. The primary endpoints were CD4 and HIV plasma viral load response and all cause mortality. Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine the association between Aboriginal status and CD4 cell response, HIV plasma viral load response and all-cause mortality while controlling for several confounder variables.
A total of 622 participants met the study criteria. Aboriginal status was significantly associated with no AIDS diagnosis at baseline (p = 0.0296), having protease inhibitor in the first therapy (p = 0.0209), lower baseline HIV plasma viral load (p < 0.001), less experienced HIV physicians (P = 0.0133), history of IDU (p < 0.001), not completing high school (p = 0.0046), and an income of less than $10,000 per year (p = 0.0115). Cox proportional hazards models controlling for clinical characteristics found that Aboriginal status had an increased hazard of mortality (HR = 3.12, 95% CI: 1.77–5.48) but did not with HIV plasma viral load response (HR = 1.15, 95% CI: 0.89–1.48) or CD4 cell response (HR = 0.95, 95% CI: 0.73–1.23).
Our study demonstrates that HIV-infected Aboriginal persons accessing HAART had similar HIV treatment response as non-Aboriginal persons but have a shorter survival. This study highlights the need for continued research on medical interventions and behavioural changes among HIV-infected Aboriginal and other marginalized populations.
Territory Aboriginal children hospitalised with acute gastroenteritis
have high rates of acidosis, hypokalaemia, and dehydration.
whether Aboriginal children with and without diarrhoea have greater
impairment in intestinal function than non-Aboriginal children, as
assessed by increased permeability ratios.
study of 124 children (96 Aboriginal and 28 non-Aboriginal)
hospitalised with and without diarrhoea. Intestinal permeability was
assessed by the lactulose to rhamnose (L-R) ratio from a five hour
children, mean L-R ratios (95% confidence intervals) were 18.3 (17.1 to 19.6) with diarrhoea and 9.0 (7.3 to 11.0) without diarrhoea, and in
non-Aboriginal children they were 5.9 (2.8 to 12.3) and 4.2 (3.3 to
5.2), respectively. In patients with diarrhoea, L-R ratios were
significantly raised when accompanied by acidosis (mean, 22.8; 95% CI,
17.0 to 30.5), hypokalaemia (mean, 20.7; 95% CI, 15.4 to 27.9), and
⩾ 5% dehydration (mean, 24.3; 95% CI, 19.0 to 29.6) compared with
none of these complications (mean, 7.0; 95% CI, 3.5 to 13.8).
incidence of acidosis, hypokalaemia, and dehydration in Aboriginal
children admitted with diarrhoeal disease is related to underlying
small intestinal mucosal damage.