National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey Pilot Test


If you or a child in your care have been selected to complete the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, your Interviewer may ask if you or the child are willing to take part in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test (NATSIHMS). As part of the NATSIHMS, you or the child will be asked to provide voluntary biomedical (blood and/or urine) samples by visiting a participating health service.

The aim of the pilot test is to help the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) prepare for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey 2022. It will be used to inform future healthcare policies and public health programs that may be relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for years to come. It will also support research into the relationship between nutrition, exercise, and health status.

The ABS will only use the information collected as part of the pilot test to plan for the main study. Statistical products or research will not be produced based on the data from this pilot test.

For more information about the NATSIHMS, please see our Frequently Asked Questions below, or call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member who can assist you.

What is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is conducting the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test (NATSIHMS). The NATSIHMS is part of a study funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health. As part of the NATSIHMS we are asking people to voluntarily provide a blood and urine sample.

The NATSIHMS will contribute to a complete picture of the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It will be used to inform future healthcare policies and public health programs that may be relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for years to come. It will also support research into the relationship between nutrition, exercise and health status.

Participation in the NATSIHMS is entirely voluntary – you or the child in your care can say yes or no to taking part. The NATSIHMS involves collecting blood and/or urine samples from people aged 12 years and above. Children aged 5-11 years will only be asked to provide a urine sample.

The aim of the pilot test is to help the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) prepare for the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey 2022, which will help us to understand the health of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

What am I agreeing to?
If you or the child in your care agree to participate, the interviewer will provide you with a consent form or guardian consent form to be completed for the child. In signing the consent section of the form, you:
  • Understand what this survey is about.
  • Understand you or the child can choose not to take part in this survey at any time.
  • Understand that the information from this survey is not shared in a way that identifies you or the child.
  • Understand that all information collected in this survey is confidential.
  • Give permission for your blood and/or urine samples or the child’s to be analysed as part of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey pilot test (NATSIHMS) and for the test results to be provided to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

What will I or the child in my care be asked to do?
You or the child can give samples at the participating health services below:
  • Dunjiba - Oodnadatta Health Service
  • Copley - Pika Wiya
It will take about 10-20 minutes and there is no cost to you.

When you or the child arrive, a trained health professional will:
  • Check the details on the referral form.
  • Ask if you or the child have any health conditions.
  • Take a small sample of blood from the arm near the elbow (if you or the child have agreed to provide a blood sample).
  • Ask for a small urine sample (if you or the child have agreed to provide a urine sample).

Important:
  • If the person giving the blood and/or urine samples has any health conditions, such as anaemia or compromised immune function, please let the sample collector know before they take the sample.
  • If the person giving the blood and/or urine samples is feeling unwell on the day, please do not attend a collection centre.

The collection centre will follow COVID-safe practices as outlined by the Australian Government Department of Health.

What will happen to the samples that are provided?
The samples will be tested for a range of things. For example, blood samples will be tested for cholesterol and other indicators which may be linked to heart conditions, and for glucose levels which may be linked to diabetes. Urine samples will be tested to check for kidney health, as kidney disease affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people more than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As this is a pilot test, the blood and urine samples will not be used to produce statistics in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey (NATSIHMS). Providing the samples for the pilot test will help the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to prepare for the NATSIHMS, which will begin in 2022. Test results collected in the 2022 NATSIHMS will be used in the final dataset, and will:
  • Guide future healthcare policies, guidelines, and public health programs; and
  • Inform vital research into the relationship between nutrition, exercise, and health outcomes.

Is the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test voluntary?
Yes, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test (NATSIHMS) is voluntary. You or the child in your care can choose to provide samples.

If at any time you or the child decide to withdraw from the study, the samples will be placed into clinical waste for destruction as per Sonic Pathology Australia’s standard procedures. All other data that relates to the pilot test will also be removed where it has not been deidentified.

Do I or the child in my care have to provide both blood and urine samples?
If you have been selected to participate and you are over 12 years, you can choose to provide both blood and urine samples, blood samples only, or urine samples only. Children aged 5-11 can only provide urine samples. Children aged 4 and under will not be asked to provide samples for the pilot test.

The child in my care has been asked to participate in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test. Is this permitted?
Yes, children aged 5 years and older may be selected to participate in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measure Survey pilot test (NATSIHMS). It is voluntary – the child or yourself as their guardian, can say yes or no to taking part. The pilot test involves collecting blood samples from people aged 12 years and over and urine samples from people aged 5 years and over. Samples are then analysed, and you or the child can choose for the results to be sent to their doctor, giving them insights into their personal health.

I am aged 5-17 years, how do I participate in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test?
If you agree to participate in the survey, we will collect small samples of your blood and/or urine so that we can gather useful information about your health. But remember, participating in the survey and providing samples is completely voluntary; you can say yes or no, it’s totally up to you. Your samples will be sent away to be tested; from this we’ll be able to get a picture of your health. We can learn, for example, about your vitamin levels and how well your kidneys work. The results can also be used to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live healthier lives.

How it’s done
You can choose if you want to take part; you can say yes or no. It only takes a few minutes.
  • Blood – a special nurse will use a small needle to collect some blood in a tube from your arm near your elbow (12 years and over only).
  • Urine – the nurse will provide you with a special container to collect some urine when you go to the toilet. The nurse will explain how to do this.

Health specialists will look at the information from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey to make decisions that may help you, your family and your community.

If you’d like to donate, please ask your parent/guardian to read and sign the consent form for you.

Will I be notified about the blood and urine results?
If you agree, a copy of your or the child’s results will be provided within three weeks of attending a participating health service. You can also choose whether to have a copy sent to your or the child’s regular doctor.

There is a possibility that the sample results may reveal a medical condition that you or your child were unaware of. In the rare event that a significant health risk is found, your or the child’s regular doctor will be contacted if you have provided their details. If you haven’t provided these details, a representative from Sonic Pathology Australia will be in contact and advise you or the child to urgently seek medical attention.

It is important to remember that this study is not intended to diagnose or treat any health problems you or the child may have and should not replace visits to a doctor or other health professional. If you wish to discuss your or the child’s test results, please consult your doctor or health professional.

Where can I or the child in my care go to provide the biomedical samples?
You or the child can give samples at the participating health services below:
  • Dunjiba - Oodnadatta Health Service
  • Copley - Pika Wiya
Your ABS Interviewer will be able to provide location details.

Do I need to book an appointment to provide the samples?
No, booking an appointment is not needed.

What tests will be done on the blood and urine samples?
The pilot test includes a range of biomedical (blood and urine) tests. You or the child in your care can choose to receive a copy of the test results.

Here is a list of the tests participants can receive results for:

Fasting Plasma Glucose
  • Measures the level of glucose in the blood after overnight fasting. Having high levels of glucose after fasting can mean that someone has diabetes or is at risk of diabetes.

Glycated Haemoglobin (HbA1c)
  • Blood test that provides a measure of average blood glucose. Used to diagnose diabetes and to assess how well diabetes is being managed.

Albumin Creatinine Ratio
  • Test that checks for protein in the urine. Protein in the urine can mean that the kidneys are not filtering blood well. This test is used to identify kidney disease.

Total Cholesterol
  • Blood test that measures total cholesterol (LDL, HDL and non-HDL cholesterols) in the blood. High total blood cholesterol can mean a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

HDL Cholesterol
  • Blood test that measures the level of protective (good) HDL cholesterol in the blood. Low levels of HDL cholesterol can mean a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Fasting Triglycerides and LDL
  • Measures the level of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in the blood after overnight fasting. High levels of LDL cholesterol or triglycerides can mean a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Blood test that assesses kidney function. This test is used to identify kidney disease.

C-Reactive Protein
  • Blood test that measures the level of C-Reactive Protein in the blood. C-Reactive Protein is a marker of inflammation or infection.

Vitamin D
  • Blood test that measures the level of vitamin D in the blood. This test is used to assess vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency can impact bone health.

Liver Function Tests
  • Blood test that measures two liver enzymes - Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and Gamma glutamyltransaminease (y-GT or GGT). Elevated liver enzymes can indicate liver inflammation, poor liver function or damage.

Serum Folate
  • Blood test that measures the level of folate in the blood as an indicator of recent folate intake. Folate is an essential vitamin especially for the first three months of fetal development. Folic acid is added to flour used to make bread and is found in vegetables.

Vitamin B12
  • Blood test to measure the level of vitamin B12 in the blood. Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for blood and neurological functions.

Serum Ferritin
  • Blood test that measures iron stores. This test is one of several that form part of 'Iron Studies' used to assess iron status. Iron is essential for haemoglobin which is the oxygen carrying component of red blood cells. Low Ferritin can be associated with anaemia, a condition where the number of red blood cells and/or the amount of haemoglobin in blood cells is too low.

Serum Transferrin Receptor
  • Blood test that measures the amount of Transferrin Receptor in the blood. This test is one of several that form part of 'Iron Studies' used to assess iron status. Transferrin is a protein that transports iron in the body. Together with other blood tests Transferrin can indicate whether there is too much or too little iron in the body.

Haemoglobin
  • Blood test that measures the level of Haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the oxygen carrying component of red blood cells. Haemoglobin levels can be abnormally high or low in a large number of conditions.

Will I or the child in my care be paid to take part in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test?
No. You or the child in your care will not be paid to take part in National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test (NATSIHMS).

Participants will receive a reimbursement in the form of a $75 gift card, to help with any costs associated with visiting the participating health service, like childcare or travel expenses (no receipts are needed).

Children who also participate in NATSIHMS will also receive a reimbursement gift card for their attendance at the participating health service.

An ABS authorised officer will provide you with instructions on how to collect your gift card. Children will also receive their gift cards this same way.

Will this affect any medical treatment that I or the child in my care are currently receiving?
Participation in National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test (NATSIHMS) should not replace visits to a doctor or other health professionals. There is a possibility that the sample results may reveal a medical condition that you or your child were unaware of. In the rare event that a significant health risk is found, your or the child’s regular doctor will be contacted if you have provided their details. If you haven’t provided these details, a representative from Sonic Pathology Australia will be in contact and advise you or the child to urgently seek medical attention.

What are the risks associated with giving blood and urine samples?
In participating, you acknowledge that your or the child’s participation (including the collection of the blood and urine samples) is at your own risk.

When giving a blood sample, there is a risk of a small amount of pain or discomfort from the needle. There may also be a small amount of bruising where the needle was inserted. There are no risks associated with giving a urine sample.

If, as a result of providing blood or urine samples you or the child experience any unexpected pain, other than from the risks described above, please immediately inform the ABS by calling 1800 225 437. If you or the child require urgent medical attention please contact a medical service provider first, then notify the ABS.

There is a possibility that the sample results may reveal a medical condition that you or your child were unaware of. In the rare event that a significant health risk is found, your or the child’s regular doctor will be contacted if you have provided their details. If you haven’t provided these details, a representative from Sonic Pathology Australia will be in contact and advise you or the child to urgently seek medical attention.

How will our information be kept safe, secure and confidential?
We take the security of personal information seriously. Information about the personal information we collect can be found in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey (NATSIHMS) Collection Notice

Samples collected as part of NATSIHMS are held securely and tested by Sonic Pathology Australia. These samples will not be stored for future research. Any personal (identifiable) information about you or the child will be treated and protected as required under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Sonic have comprehensive information security management systems in place to support privacy and data security and even though yours or the child’s samples will be re-identifiable (identified by a code, without yours or the child’s name), they will be subject to Sonic Pathology’s security system. No information or samples will be shared with anyone else, and yours or the child’s personal information will not be shared or given to anyone. Once the tests have been completed, all samples in primary collection tubes (blood) and containers (urine) will be destroyed after 7 days of being received at the central laboratory according to Sonic’s standard clinical waste procedures. For more information please see Sonic’s Privacy Policy

More information on the individual privacy policies of participating health services can be found at:

The test results are provided to the ABS and kept confidential under the Census and Statistics Act 1905. Under this Act, ABS staff are legally bound to protect yours and the child’s data. It is an offence to reveal any information collected under this Act. For more information please see the ABS Privacy Policy.

What will happen to information collected about me or the child in my care?
The test results may be joined up with data collected from the earlier surveys that you completed; this will give a more comprehensive picture of your or the child’s health. No information that can identify you or the child will be made available to anyone outside of the ABS. Researchers will have access to information which will be used for research purposes only. You or the child cannot be identified from this information.

Has this study been approved by an external ethics committee?
Yes, the ABS has obtained approval from an external ethics committee. The ethics committee is the Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee (AHREC) of South Australia.
Should you wish to discuss the study please contact AHREC via email at Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au or visit their Contact Us page.

I and/or the child in my care want to participate but I’ve lost my forms. What do I need to do?
The participating health service will have spare copies of the consent forms and the referral forms. You can also speak to your ABS Interviewer.

I and/or the child in my care have changed our minds and want to participate. How do we get involved?
If you or the child have changed your minds and would like to participate please speak to your ABS Interviewer or you can call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member.

How do I or the child in my care withdraw from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test?
If, at any time, you or the child decide to withdraw from the study, call 1800 225 437 to speak with an ABS staff member. When you or the child withdraw, the samples will be placed into clinical waste for destruction as per Sonic Pathology Australia’s standard procedures. All other data that relates to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey pilot test (NATSIHMS) will also be removed where it has not been deidentified.

Who can I contact for more information?
For help or more information about the pilot test, please call us on 1800 225 437 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm AEST. For help outside these hours, please leave a message with your contact details and we will return your call as soon as possible.

Should you wish to discuss the survey or view a copy of the complaint procedure with someone not directly involved, particularly in relation to matters concerning policies, information or complaints about the conduct of the survey or your rights as a participant, you may contact the AHREC ethics committee. Please contact AHREC via email at Gokhan.Ayturk@ahcsa.org.au or visit their Contact Us page.

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