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SYDNEY, Australia (Radio Australia, Dec 12) - New figures show Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are admitted to hospital twice as often as the rest of the population.

Our reporter Elizabeth Byrne says the statistics are contained in a report released recently by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Bureau of Statistics.

The survey shows indigenous men are six times more likely to be hospitalized than the general male population, and indigenous women are 14 times more likely to spend time in hospital than their non-indigenous sisters.

The women's figures show childbirth is the major reason for indigenous women being admitted in greater numbers and from a much earlier age.

The report reveals the most serious health issue for indigenous people is kidney failure, which accounts for 29 per cent of hospital admissions.

Other significant health risks include injuries and poisoning, respiratory problems and mental illness.

Private hospitals take one third of admissions in Australia, but it is public hospitals that take 97 per cent of indigenous patients.

December 12, 2002

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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