The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report

Chief Public Health Officer’s Report 2018-2020

The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report is developed to meet the requirement of Section 23 of the South Australian Public Health Act, 2011 (the Act) to report biennially on the state of public health for South Australia.

The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report 2018-2020 (PDF 3.77MB) is the fifth report, and is titled ‘Promote Protect Prevent Progress’.

Part 1 – The Chief Public Health Officers Report

The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report 2018-2020 describes the state of public health including current data, trends and indicators. It also shows how SA Health protects and promotes health, prevents and controls disease, and strengthens systems that support public health and wellbeing in South Australia.

The report is supported by the Data Compendium (PDF 4.22MB), and the Compendium of Case Studies, Research and Achievements (PDF 1.67MB). The report:

  • Provides a comprehensive snapshot of the state of public health in SA
  • Shows the wide spectrum of public health action that impacts on population health and wellbeing
  • Includes a chapter on South Australia’s public health response to COVID-19 (up to June 30 2020).

Major findings

The report highlights achievements and challenges over the reporting period including major emergencies, including the 2019/20 bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. The scale and duration of these major emergencies demonstrates the need for emergency preparedness, and the role of public health in addressing longer-term health, social and environmental impacts.

Despite these two major health crises, there have been substantial achievements in public health in South Australia, including:

  • Full immunisation coverage for 95.5 per cent of Aboriginal children aged 60 months to less than 63 months. This exceeds both the national and state averages for all children.
  • Screening rates for breast, cervical and bowel cancer are amongst the highest in Australia.
  • Nation-leading uptake of hepatitis C direct-acting antiviral treatment.
  • A general downward trend in smoking prevalence – evident across all population groups– and a significant decrease in risky alcohol consumption by South Australians aged 15 years and over, reducing their risk of injury on a single occasion.

However, complex public health challenges continue, including:

  • Tobacco use, overweight and obesity, and dietary risks, are the leading contributors to SA’s total disease burden. The persistent growth of overweight and obesity in children aged two to 17 years is particularly concerning.
  • Nearly half of South Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, which is now the second largest contributor to years lived in ill-health in our state.
  • The gap in health outcomes between the nation’s least and most disadvantaged communities continues to widen in SA and across Australia.
  • Aboriginal South Australians still experience a higher rate of burden of disease and premature death than non-Aboriginal South Australians across nearly all age groups.
  • Intensified climate risk means increased health risk and mortality, and a consequent increased demand on hospital and emergency services.

Part 2 - The Data Compendium

The Data Compendium (PDF 4.22MB) provides the most current population health data in South Australia. The data is used to inform the South Australian Public Health Indicator Framework. Statistical tables, figures and maps in the report are linked to data, measures and information held in the Data Compendium. It is a reference source for public health researchers and practitioners.

Part 3 - Compendium of Case Studies, Research and Achievements

The Compendium of Case Studies, Research and Achievements (PDF 1.67MB) provides summaries of the case studies that highlight the range of public health action in South Australia over 2018-2020. The compendium expands on these and showcases examples of innovation.

Previous reports