Annual report 2009-2010, NT Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee
NT Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee annual report 2009-2010
Office of the Children's Commissioner Northern Territory
E-Publications; PublicationNT; E-Books; The Children's Commissioner Northern Territory annual report; Annual reports
Date:2010; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).
Children, Aboriginal Australian; Northern Territory; Periodicals; Death; Causes; Statistics; Periodicals; Children and death; Periodicals
Northern Territory Government
The Children's Commissioner Northern Territory annual report; Annual reports
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Northern Territory Government
Page 50 Chapter 7 Summary of Key Findings The data presented for 2006-2009 in Chapter 5 along with the historical and national context provided in Chapter 4 allow the Committee to make balanced and informed observations and findings relating to child deaths in the NT. There are several major findings that give cause for serious concern: 1. The child death rate in the NT continues to be higher than other jurisdictions throughout Australia and particularly in infants among whom the rate is almost double that of the national average. 2. Aboriginal children make up 43% of infants and children in the NT, but are markedly over-represented in mortality statistics with 73% of the NT resident child deaths. Overall NT Aboriginal children are three and a half times more likely to die during childhood than NT non-Aboriginal children. Over-representation of Aboriginal child deaths is also apparent nationally, however at a much lesser extent than in the NT. 3. There was an increase in the number of stillbirths recorded in 2009 to that of the previous two years. However, this is slightly offset by the reduced number of infant deaths in that corresponding year. 4. The leading Underlying Causes of Death (UCOD) were Perinatal Conditions (32%) and External Causes (26%). Child deaths as a result of Perinatal Conditions and Congenital Malformations (11%) are prominent during the first year of life. Child deaths are much less common after infancy before increasing again among children in the 10-17 years age bracket. Deaths among these older children are most commonly a result of external causes, which includes events such as traffic accidents, drowning, intentional self-harm and poisoning. 5. In the 2006-2008 period, 15 child deaths resulted from intentional self-harm. All of these deaths were Aboriginal children and all but one was the result of hanging. Preliminary comparisons with Qld and NSW indicate that NT death rates from self-harm were at least 5 times and up to 13 times higher than these other jurisdictions respectively. On a positive note and despite these serious concerns: 6. The infant death rate between 1998 and 2008 has decreased nationally and by an even greater extent in the NT where rates have halved. 7. In 2009, there were 46 child deaths in the NT, which is the lowest annual number in the 2006-2009 period captured by the Committee. While this is encouraging it should be noted that the NT has a relatively small child population and child death numbers can be volatile. 8. The reduction in child deaths in 2009 is a result of the absence of self-harm events and the reduction in infant deaths for that year. 9. There has been a general pattern of decline in perinatal deaths over recent years which is consistent with historical trends, even though there was a slight increase in the total for 2009, which can be attributed to a spike in the stillbirth figures for that year.
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