ABOUT THE NATIONAL ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER HEALTH MEASURES SURVEY
The ABS Australian Health Survey (AHS) is the largest and most comprehensive health survey ever conducted in Australia. The survey, conducted throughout Australia, collected a range of information about health related issues, including health status and conditions, health risk factors and health service usage.
The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS) forms part of the broader AHS and is based on a nationally representative sample of around 12,900 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The AATSIHS was conducted in non-remote areas and remote areas across Australia, including discrete communities.
In 2011–13, the AATSIHS incorporated the first ABS biomedical collection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey (NATSIHMS). The NATSIHMS involved the collection of blood and urine samples from around 3,300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults across Australia, which were then tested for various chronic disease and nutrient biomarkers. It also provided a unique opportunity to compare results with the non-Indigenous population, as collected in the National Health Measures Survey.
The NATSIHMS has been made possible by additional funding from the Australian Government Department of Health as well as the National Heart Foundation of Australia, and the contributions of these two organisations to improving health information in Australia through quality statistics are greatly valued.
The AATSIHS was developed with the assistance of an advisory group comprised of experts on health issues, many of whom were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The biomedical component in particular was also developed with the assistance of several advisory groups and expert panels. Members of these groups were drawn from Commonwealth and state/territory government agencies, non-government organisations, relevant academic institutions and clinicians. The valuable contributions made by members of these groups are greatly appreciated.
Finally, the success of the NATSIHMS was dependent on the very high level of cooperation received from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the range of statistics published by the ABS would not be possible. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act, 1905.