21 June 2018
Aboriginal children face a brighter future with the teenage motherhood rate almost halving in 20 years, smoking in pregnancy down by a third, and child vaccination rates among the best in the country.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said this year’s Chief Health Officer’s report, Aboriginal Kids – a healthy start to life, showed some very positive trends in Aboriginal children’s health.

“The first five years of a person’s life are the most important for laying foundations for learning, health and wellbeing,” Dr Chant said.

“So I’m very pleased to see the percentage of Aboriginal teenage mothers has almost halved since 1994, down from 23 to 13 per cent.

“The Aboriginal infant mortality rate has dropped substantially, too, and the full immunisation rates for Aboriginal children at five years of age are actually higher than the rate for non-Aboriginal children - at 97 per cent compared to 94 per cent - which is a terrific result.”

Another pleasing sign for Dr Chant was the percentage of Aboriginal children receiving health assessments, which has almost tripled since 2010-11.

Report co-author Stephen Blunden, the acting Chief Executive of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council said the progress in Aboriginal children’s health was a reflection of successful partnerships within the community.

“This is a good example of what a difference we can make when we work together,” Mr Blunden said. “There’s still work to be done in other areas of Aboriginal health but we should not lose sight of the major achievements we’ve reached in recent years because they’re improving the lives of the next generation of our community - our children.”

Dr Chant said NSW Health is committed to continuing efforts to improve the health of Aboriginal people in NSW through the Aboriginal Health Plan 2013-2023 and doing so collaboratively across government, and with the Aboriginal community health services.

The full report can be viewed at:www.health.nsw.gov.au/hsnsw/Publications/chief-health-officers-report-2018.pdf​