We have much to be proud of in Australia, and in chronic disease we have led the world, but the health of the nation's Indigenous population remains sorely neglected. In terms of rates of chronic disease, the greatest disparity in our community occurs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Life expectancy at birth has risen dramatically over the past 100 years for non-Indigenous Australians, however, life expectancy is much lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with Indigenous males living at least 12 years less and 10 years less for females.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more than 3 times as likely as non-Indigenous Australians to report some form of diabetes. The total incidence rate of end-stage kidney disease is 6 times as high as it is among non-Indigenous Australians, and Indigenous people are 8 times as likely to begin dialysis or receive a kidney transplant.
In context of these figures, and as part of our mission to reduce death and disability from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related disorders, Baker IDI’s work in Indigenous health is committed to addressing this inequality. A research base in Alice Springs in Central Australia, along with researchers in Melbourne, conduct community-based, scientific and clinical research to improve the health of the nation's most disadvantaged group.
The three diseases that represent the most significant health burden in Indigenous communities are kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes. Baker IDI’s Indigenous health research program is conducted in close consultation with local communities, working with existing community services to improve the health of Indigenous people when it comes to chronic disease.
To support health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly residents of Central Australia, by reducing the risk and impact of non-communicable and communicable diseases that contribute to the significant gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.
To reduce death disability and illness caused by non-communicable and communicable disease amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with a particular focus on the residents of Central Australia.
To date, Baker IDI Central Australia has primarily focussed on vascular disease and diabetes, across the following areas:
• Research on prevention, early detection and treatment of disease
• Health services research
• Provision of health services which are complementary to our research
• Health care provider support and education
Please see the Indigenous Health Program page for an overview of projects at Baker IDI Central Australia.