Chronic diseases were responsible for more than two-thirds (70%) of the total health gap and for 64% of the total disease burden among Indigenous Australians.
The five disease groups that caused the most burden were mental and substance use disorders (19%), injuries (including suicide) (15%), cardiovascular diseases (12%), cancer (9%) and
respiratory diseases (8%). Much of this could be prevented. Reducing exposure to modifiable risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use, high body mass, physical inactivity,
high blood pressure and dietary factors may have prevented over one-third (37%) of the burden of chronic disease.
Approximately half of Australia’s Indigenous population is male. Knowledge of the status of their health, although not complete due to limitations on Indigenous identification,
is an area of acute need. Here at Babana we are active in designing and implementing health promotion campaigns (scroll down for examples) and also a range of community based events
and activities focusing in on some of the following specific health issues:
Specific Health Issues
Cardiovascular disease, injuries, cancers and respiratory diseases account for most Indigenous male deaths. Measures of morbidity such as hospitalisations also show higher rates
than for non-indigenous males. Risk factors include substance (especially alcohol and tobacco use) misuse, social and emotional problems. Adolescents appear to be especially vulnerable.
Family violence is a significant issue for Indigenous males both as perpetrators and as victims. There is a startling lack of input from, and engagement of, Indigenous males in this problem.
General male access to, and use of, appropriate health services is poor. Access appears to be worse for Indigenous males with a general lack of specialist and specific services.
This requires more study.
Remote, rural and urban Indigenous males have different needs and slightly different health profiles—traditional men in remote areas require more strict gender-specific (men’s business)
health services; for urban males health problems such as illicit substance misuse are more prevalent.
The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prison inmates needs to be reviewed as it is not well documented and little published data is available.
There continue to be high rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the Indigenous population. Indigenous males appear to be screened less and to have less access
to appropriate services than Indigenous women. Little data was found on the roles and responsibilities concerned with the transition from traditional to contemporary life styles
for Indigenous males. Study of the concept of ‘masculinity’ for Indigenous males has been limited.
Several models of Indigenous male health programs were identified but few had been vigorously evaluated. Little is known about specific prevalence and incidence rates
for Indigenous male clinical issues of impotence, and prostate and testicular cancer. Numbers of Indigenous male researchers are insufficient to research and document these health needs.