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The cost-effectiveness of primary care for Indigenous Australians with diabetes living in remote Northern Territory communities

Australia’s Northern Territory has an estimated population of 234 800 people — just 1% of the national total. More than half the population lives in the greater Darwin area or in Alice Springs.1 Of all states and territories, the NT has the highest proportion (30%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (Indigenous Australians), many of whom live in small communities in remote and very remote areas (remoteness area categories 3 and 4).2 Indigenous people continue to experience higher rates of unemployment, lower levels of education and more crowded living conditions compared with other Australians. These social determinants contribute to poor health, including higher rates of chronic diseases and hospitalisation, higher mortality and lower life expectancy.3

Primary care is an effective and efficient means of providing a range of basic health services that improve health outcomes.4,5 However, providing high-quality, cost-effective primary care for a small population dispersed over a large remote area poses challenges. Cost-effectiveness refers to value for money, with better health outcomes achieved at less cost for patients as well as the health system.6 Indigenous people in remote settings experience barriers…