22 January 2015 | General Interest
A six-year study by the University of Melbourne has provided previously unpublished data that shows the rate of Aboriginal infant mortality in Victoria did not change from 1999 to 2008.
The Victorian Aboriginal Child Mortality Study examined population data in the state over the ten-year period and found that while the percentage of Aboriginal births was 1.6 per cent of all Victorian births, Aboriginal infant mortality accounted for 3.1 per cent of all Victorian infant deaths.
The study’s lead researcher, Associate Professor Jane Freemantle, said that more work was required to close this gap.
“We now have data that shows there has been no significant change in the rate of deaths between 1999 and 2008 of Aboriginal babies in Victoria and the risk of Aboriginal infant deaths in the first year of life remains twice as high as for non-Aboriginal babies,” Associate Professor Freemantle said.
“If we can’t look after the most vulnerable in our society, then a nation’s overall prosperity must be brought into question.”
It is hoped that the data provided in the study will now form part of the evidence base required to accurately analyse the effectiveness of Close the Gap programs and education.
“The results of this research are fundamental to improving health systems and developing evidence based policies to improve the health of Victorian Aboriginal infants and children,” Associate Professor Freemantle said.