The World Health Organisation has warned Australians who do not have an Australian birth certificate will be at risk of missing out on some of the world’s best public health programmes.
The OECD’s latest report on health in Australia, released today, recommends parents consider taking the Australian Government’s National Health Birth Certificate Test (NHBCTT), which can be taken online or by mail-in form.
“It’s a test you can take if you don’t have a birth certificate, if you’re a dual citizen, or if you’ve been granted Australian citizenship,” Professor John McArthur, the OECD’s director-general for health, said in a statement.
“We are confident that the test can be passed easily and effectively, even for dual citizens who do have birth certificates.”
While there is no standard for the test, it is recommended that parents should complete the test and send their results to their local Health Minister’s office for their records to be checked.
“Parents should check that the answer to their questions is correct before taking the test.”
The NHBCTT is a one-time test that costs $250 and requires a parent or guardian to attend an office and fill in an online questionnaire.
There is no specific information on how many parents should take it, but some health professionals say they would recommend it.
A study by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that only about 30 per cent of children between the ages of five and 17 were able to pass the test.
The results of a second, more recent study, from a larger cohort of children, found that those who passed the test were more likely to be white, Australian, English-speaking and older than other Australians.
Professor McArthur said the NHBCtt was designed to give a “high-level assessment of the ability of a child to meet the medical needs of his or her country of origin”.
“It should not be seen as a substitute for a birth registration or citizenship application.”
It is also not a substitute to other relevant assessments and medical tests.
“For example, a medical test that is taken by the doctor who provides a birth report will not necessarily be valid unless it is done by a registered health practitioner.”
The test also does not provide a “clear indication” of whether a child is eligible for an international study, the Australian Medical Association said in its statement.
Professor Robert Wilkins, the chair of the Royal College of Physicians, said the test was “not a comprehensive assessment” of a person’s ability to cope with life in Australia.
“If you are not a dual national, it’s not a great test to ask about,” he said.
“You should only be asking it if you have some sort of family history, you’ve got some sort the child’s been in Australia for some period of time, and you think it’s likely that they’ve got the capacity to cope.”
Professor Wilkins said the Australian government was “absolutely right” to use the test to assess citizenship.
“I think it is a good test,” he told ABC Radio.
“In the last few years, the National Health Board has been looking at the test more than anything else and they have recommended it to their government as a way to assess whether people have the ability to be a citizen.”
“They’ve been talking about it and doing more of that.”
The NSW Health and Medical Research Council said it had no evidence to suggest the NHBTT was “effective or effective” in assessing the ability for Australians to cope in the Australian health system.
“There is a lot of information out there that suggests that people with a birth or immigration certificate or other documentation are less likely to have good outcomes in Australia,” spokesman Tom MacQuarrie said.
“[There’s] some evidence to that effect, particularly in the context of children.”
The Department of Health’s Minister for Primary Industries, Rob Stokes, said parents should be aware of the test’s accuracy and potential side-effects.
“Parents should be careful, as the National Education Assessment (NEA) is one of the most comprehensive tests in the world,” he wrote in a blog post.
“This test is designed to assess general health skills, which include such things as the ability, maturity, and maturity and learning capacity of children.”
This is a test that does not require you to provide information about your birth certificate or citizenship.
The NEA also does a range of other tests to assess the general health and education of people aged between two and 17 years.
“We encourage parents to take this test when they are unsure about their ability to support their children.”
He said there was no guarantee the test would pass or be accurate.
“No-one knows for sure that the NEA test is accurate or accurate, and it could be a little bit like comparing apples to oranges.”
The NEA does not assess children’s general health or ability to perform school work, and parents should not expect to pass a NEA when it comes to the ability or capacity of their children