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Injury from a variety of sources presents a significant burden of ill-health among Indigenous people. Assessing the total impact of injury is difficult. Injuries are measured by way of deaths and hospitalisation rates, but many injuries sustained by Indigenous people are not recorded in a systematic database or by routine data collections except for those collected as part of population surveys, such as the ABS National health surveys. As a result, the full extent of injuries may be underestimated and also not brought to the attention of health policy-makers and program managers .
Even for injuries that are serious enough to be recorded in the routine data collections or are identified by specific studies, there are some issues with their classification. The classification of injury has generally followed the WHO’s ICD, which includes particular attention to the external cause and intention of the injury. This system is followed in this section .
Understanding of the factors contributing to most types of injury among Indigenous people is limited, but the levels and types of injury need to be seen within a broad context including: disruption to cultural, environmental, and lifestyle variables; socioeconomic disadvantage; geographical isolation; increased road usage; exposure to hazardous environment(s); substance abuse; violence; social and familial dysfunction; risky behaviour; risky home environments; and limited access to health and social support services .
The actual frequency of injury among Indigenous people in WA is not known, but data from the 2004-2005 NATSIHS indicate that self-reported health conditions as a result of an injury or accident were reported more frequently by Indigenous people than by non-Indigenous people across all age groups . Reporting of injury increased substantially in Indigenous adults over the age of 25 years, and was highest in the 34-44, and 45-55 year age groups. Overall, the reporting of a long-term condition as a result of an injury or accident was 1.4 times higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people, with the ratio for males (1.5) being slightly higher than that for females (1.3).
With more recent mortality and hospitalisation data unavailable for WA, Australia-wide data revealed that in 2007-08, Indigenous Australians were hospitalised for injury at twice the rate of other Australians; and for the period 2003-2007, Indigenous Australians died at more than twice the rate of non-Indigenous Australians .
The most current hospitalisation data related to injury for WA was for the two year period 2002-03 and 2003-04 . For this two year period, of the 71,143 hospitalisations for ‘injury and poisoning’ for persons aged 0-74 years, 11.4% (8,138) were identified as Indigenous  and the age-standardised hospitalisation rates for Indigenous people aged 0-74 years for injury and poisoning were 62 per 1,000 for Indigenous males compared with 22 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous males; and 60 for Indigenous females compared with 13 for non-Indigenous females .
The age-standardised hospitalisation rates for Indigenous people aged 0-74 years for transport accidents involving cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles and pedestrians were 6.9 per 1,000 for Indigenous males compared with 3.3 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous males; and 4.0 per 1,000 for Indigenous females compared with 1.2 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous females . For injuries caused by other accidents including other land transport accidents, water transport accidents, falls, drowning and poisoning, rates were 37 per 1,000 for Indigenous males compared with 16 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous males; and 27 per 1,000 for Indigenous females compared with 8.8 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous females. For self-harm, rates were 5.0 per 1,000 for Indigenous males compared with 1.2 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous males; and 4.7 per 1,000 for Indigenous females compared with 1.9 for non-Indigenous females and for assault were 20 per 1,000 for Indigenous males compared with 1.2 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous males; and 26 per 1,000 for Indigenous females compared with 0.4 per 1,000 for non-Indigenous females .
The most current mortality data related to injury available for WA was for the period 2001-2003 . In WA, in 2001-2003:
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