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Key references

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References for the key publications relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's health are listed here.


Burns J, Maling CM, Thomson N (2010)

Summary of Indigenous women's health.

Perth, WA: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

Fredericks B, Adams K, Angus S (2010)

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Health Strategy.

Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal; 34(4): 32-34

Fredericks BL, Adams K, Angus S, Australian Women's Health Network Talking Circle (2010)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's health strategy.

Melbourne: Australian Women's Health Network


Northern Territory Government Department of the Chief Minister (2008)

Building on our strengths: a framework for action for women in the Northern Territory 2008-2012.

Darwin: Department of the Chief Minister

Rumbold AR, Cunningham J (2008)

Review of the impact of antenatal care for Australian Indigenous women and attempts to strengthen these services.

Maternal and Child Health Journal; 12(1): 83-100


Australian Bureau of Statistics (2007)

The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: a snapshot, 2004-05.

Retrieved 14/05/2007 from

Fredericks B (2007)

Australian Aboriginal women's health: reflecting on the past and present.

Health and History; 9(2): 93-113

Leeds K, Gourley M, Laws P, Zhang J, Al-Yaman F, Sullivan EA (2007)

Indigenous mothers and their babies, Australia 2001-2004.

Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

This report presents demographic, pregnancy and childbirth factors of Indigenous women who gave birth between 2001 and 2004, as well as information about the babies born to Indigenous women in this period. Information on demographic and birth trends from 1991 to 2004 is also included. One chapter is dedicated to an assessment of the quality of data relating to Indigenous status in the perinatal data collections.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2005)

Mothers and children.

In: Health and welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2005. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics: 73-90

Australian Medical Association (2005)

Lifting the weight: low birth weight babies: an Indigenous health burden that must be lifted.

Barton, ACT: Australian Medical Association

This is the fourth report card by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Focusing on data collated by the AMA on low birth weight and premature babies, the report provides a snap shot of the extent of these issues in the Indigenous population. Low birth weight babies (less than 2.5 kg) are more likely to die in the first year of life and are more susceptible to chronic illness later in life. Indigenous babies are more than twice as likely to be born premature or underweight as non-Indigenous babies and the AMA calculates that this puts 1,140 Indigenous children a year at a physical and developmental disadvantage.

The title Lifting the weight was aimed at creating awareness of the problem, lifting the weight of Indigenous babies to a healthier level and lifting the weight of this health burden from Indigenous mothers, families and communities. Five successful programs are outlined in the Good news insert including the Mums and Babies Program at the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service in Queensland. The AMA concludes that dealing with the problems of low birth weight and premature babies requires proper funding, resources, education and political will.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Jones C, Zhang X, Dempsey K, Schwarz N, Guthridge S (2005)

The health and wellbeing of Northern Territory women: from the desert to the sea.

Darwin: Department of Health and Community Services

Kildea SV (2005)

Birthing business in the bush: it's time to listen.

Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Technology: Sydney

The challenge of ameliorating or preventing the health problems of Indigenous Australians living in remote areas is compounded by the profound professional, cultural, social and personal isolation of the health professionals who work there. This isolation has direct effects on the recruitment and retention of health professionals to remote communities, and their ability to work effectively in this unfamiliar environment.

The overarching goal of this research was to strengthen the capacity of these professionals to improve the quality of remote area maternity services in Australia and the experiences and outcomes for birthing women and their families. This was achieved by investigating a process of engagement with a wide range of stakeholders and utilising contemporary communication technology through the Internet. A case study approach was undertaken using participatory action research (PAR) with the elements off rapid assessment, response and evaluation methods (RARE). The research explored, described and analysed the development of resources aimed at decreasing isolation and increasing communication in the remote setting. Identifying the barriers, facilitators and utility of an information technology intervention was an integral part of the investigation process.

The first case study saw the development and evaluation of the Maternity Care in the Bush Web Based Resource Library, designed to decrease the isolation of practitioners from the educational resources and professional expertise available in current literature, guidelines and reports. The second case study targeted isolation from peers, with the development and evaluation of the Remote Links Online Community. This was designed to build partnerships between isolated practitioners, for the purpose of interactive peer support, information exchange and mentoring. The third and fourth case studies were guided by Aboriginal researchers and resulted in the development of the Birthing Business in the Bush Website, designed to decrease practitioners' isolation from cultural knowledge. An integrated component of this Website is the Primary Health Care Guide to Planning Local Maternity Services, designed to decrease the isolation of the health care practitioner from the community in which they are working.

Issues related to conducting research in the Australian Indigenous setting have been explored, analysed and detailed. Each case study contributed new knowledge and learning about the challenges and contemporary contexts of remote area maternity service provision in Australia. The use of PAR, and, most particularly, how this can be used in Indigenous research to produce goals that extended beyond the individual researcher's goals, has been described. The current difficulties associated with computer mediated communication, as experienced by remote practitioners, have been highlighted.

The research has identified areas of need within the workforce that, if addressed, could contribute to improved health services. Importantly, the research has documented, acknowledged, honoured and disseminated the voices of Aboriginal women, through the far reaching communication technology that is the Internet. Furthermore, the voices, concerns and conditions of remote maternity services providers were also documented and acknowledged. This workforce, often invisible and poorly valued, was assisted and supported to provide evidenced based, culturally appropriate maternity care, through the resources that were developed. To further progress the lessons taken from the research, recommendations have been developed and are listed in the conclusion.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Prior DM (2005)

Cultural strengths and social needs of Aboriginal women with cancer: take away the cancer but leave me whole.

Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Queensland: Brisbane, Queensland


Eades S (2004)

Maternal and child health care services: actions in the primary health care setting to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of childbearing age, infants and young children.

Canberra: Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

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