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Burden of Disease and Injury in the Northern territory 1999-2003



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17 May 2010

Abstract: The burden of disease and injury (BOD) methodology was developed in the early 1990’s by the World Health Organisation to provide a comprehensive assessment of ill health in a population, by quantifying the collective contributions of both fatal and non-fatal outcomes. BOD studies have become a leading source of evidence to inform health policy and health service planning.

This recently released report is the second BOD study for the Northern Territory (NT), and applies the methodology used in the most recent Australian BOD study. The report provides a comprehensive assessment for 177 conditions over the period from 1999 to 2003.

Over the five-year study period, the non-fatal burden of disease constituted the majority (57%) of ill health. The Aboriginal population was over-represented for both the non-fatal (57%) and fatal (50%) outcomes, compared with their proportion of the total NT population (29%). After adjustment for the age structure of the populations, the study highlights that the disease burden in the NT Aboriginal population for this period was 3.57 times the national average. The burden of the NT non-Aboriginal population was also greater, 1.22 times the national average. When combined, the age-adjusted burden of disease in the NT was 1.74 times the national average.

Comparison between the two NT studies is complex but provides an important insight into changes through time.


Steve Guthridge

Director, Health Gains Planning – Department of Health and Families