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Aboriginal children as young as eight years old are being trained up as child doctors as part of a project to boost health outcomes in remote communities in Central Australia. The pilot, Tjitji Doctors (Child Doctors) program, is a partnership between the Malpa Project and St Vincent de Paul and will run out of Alice Springs from October 2011.
Children aged 8 to 10 will learn basic health skills from western medical professionals, traditional healers and Aboriginal elders to become health ambassadors in their communities. They will learn simple hygiene practices like washing, wearing clean clothes, cleaning noses, and keeping a clean house.
Research shows simple hygiene techniques can greatly improve primary health outcomes and reduce long term problems but is challenged by factors like more than 75% of Northern Territory Aboriginal households having no power or water.