Utilisation Rates of Child and Family Health Services Among Aboriginal Infants in an Urban Setting

Project Status

Chief Investigators
John Widdup

Associate Investigators
Elizabeth Comino, Vana Webster


The health and well being of Aboriginal Australians is well recognised to be worse than non-Aboriginal Australians. These health disparities have been shown to commence during pregnancy, are present in childhood and continue throughout life. Indigenous people are generally less healthy than other Australians, die at much younger ages, have more disability and a lower quality of life. Inequality in terms of access to, and utilisation of health services is often seen as one of the many causes of such disparity for Aboriginal Australian’s, particularly in infanthood.


This study aims to indentify and compare rates of access to a NSW health mandated Universal Health Home Visit (UHHV) within the first two weeks of life by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal infants born at an urban NSW hospital. The study also seeks to identify risk factors for receiving a UHHV and determines if receiving a UHHV within two weeks influences subsequent health service utilisation over time.

Design and Method

A Descriptive audit of child and family records has been performed along with a case-control study to compare data of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal infants and their mothers. This study has drawn 175 Aboriginal infants from an original recruitment study of 2108 mothers involved in a ward survey of those delivering a baby at an urban hospital in the south west of Sydney NSW, over an 18 month period. Aboriginal infants have been randomly matched with non-Aboriginal infants by gender and date of birth. Seven cases were removed for living outside of the Health Service region. This produced a cohort of 527 cases, with 175 Aboriginal infants identified from either parent being Aboriginal.