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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places


This section provides recent references compiled from our bibliographic database about personal hygiene relating to Indigenous environmental health. This information is of particular relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander environmental health practitioners. References include journal articles, reports, theses and other literature. To access our complete database please use our bibliography.


Hall N, Barbosa MC, Currie D, Dean AJ, Head B, Hill PS, Naylor S, Reid S, Selvey L, Willis J (2017)

Water, sanitation and hygiene in remote Indigenous Australian communities: a scan of priorities.

Brisbane: Global Change Institute, The University of Queensland

This discussion paper presents an overview of the current status of water, sanitation and hygiene services and challenges in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.

The paper aims to emphasise the importance of the challenges requiring attention, as well as propose questions to stimulate discussion around how various stakeholders can respond to these challenges.

Key findings from the paper include:

  • contamination of drinking water remains a risk where monitoring regimes are not rigorous or consistent, and the use of bore water is problematic as it may contain naturally high levels of microbial and chemical contaminants
  • the status of sanitation has improved with increasing installation of centralised wastewater treatment replacing onsite septic tanks, however concerns remain regarding self-certification of wastewater installations in the NT, irregular wastewater output monitoring regimes, incompatible items flushed down toilets and high turnover of wastewater management staff in communities.
  • the status of hygiene and related health issues is an area of serious shortcomings - including issues around overcrowding, lack of knowledge of menstrual hygiene management and trachoma.

This paper was developed in response to Australia's research need around the actions required to ensure that Australia meets the targets of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 6 for 'access to water and sanitation for all'.

Abstract adapted from the University of Queensland

Hall NL, Huggett C, Iten L (2017)

Indigenous girls missing school during their periods: the state of hygiene in remote Australia.

The Conversation; (July 2017)

Retrieved 3 July 2017 from

Lange FD, Jones K, Ritte R, Brown HE, Taylor HR (2017)

The impact of health promotion on trachoma knowledge, attitudes and practice (KAP) of staff in three work settings in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases; 11(5): e0005503

Retrieved from

Ninti One Limited (2017)

Evaluation of the National Trachoma Health Promotion Programme.

Melbourne: Indigenous Eye Health

This report describes the research process and results produced by Ninti One Limited to support an evaluation of the National Trachoma Health Promotion Programme (THPP). The project evaluated the work of Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) at the University of Melbourne and its contribution to the goals of the National THPP in six remote Aboriginal communities in central Australia (the border region of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia). The results identified community knowledge and perceptions of the THPP and will be used to eliminate trachoma and improve and develop future activities and initiatives.

Abstract adapted from Ninti One Limited

Thomas S, Crooks K, Taylor K, Massey PD, Williams R, Pearce G (2017)

Reducing recurrence of bacterial skin infections in Aboriginal children in rural communities: new ways of thinking, new ways of working.

Australian Journal of Primary Health; Online early(

Western Australian Department of Public Health (2017)

Aboriginal environmental health newsletter - Campfire.

Retrieved 2016 from

Campfire is an electronic newsletter produced by the Environmental Health Directorate of Western Australia (WA).

It showcases showcase the achievements and activities of Aboriginal environmental health practitioners and their colleagues in WA. Newsletter topics from previous editions include:

  • water management
  • trachoma education and training 
  • dog health training
  • community programs
  • training opportunities.

The Directorate invites submissions of articles for Campfire via the contacts below.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Cowling CS, Liu BC, Snelling TL, Ward JS, Kaldor JM, Wilson DP (2016)

Australian trachoma surveillance annual report, 2013.

Communicable Diseases Intelligence; 40(2): E255-E266

Hall N, Abal E, Albert S, Ali S, Barrington D, Dean A, Head B, Hill P, Hussey K, Jagals P, Muriuki G, Pascoe M, Reid S, Richards R, Robinson J, Ross H, Torero Cullen J, Willis J (2016)

The UN sustainable development goals for water and sanitation: How should Australia respond within and beyond its borders? Discussion paper.

Brisbane: Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

Kahn HA (2016)

Addressing primary risk factors for strongyloidiasis in rural and remote Australian Indigenous communities through health promotion: a narrative review.

Australian Medical Student Journal; 7(2): 26-29

Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia (2016)

The Photovoice Project: remote Aboriginal pool research.

Perth: Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia

This report formally evaluates the Remote Aboriginal Swimming Pool (RASP) program run by the Royal Life Saving Society WA in Western Australia (WA). The RASP is a long-term remote pool management program that funds aquatic facilities, activities and staff in six communities in the Gascoyne, Pilbara and Kimberley regions. Using school attendance and pool data, as well yarning and photovoice processes, the evaluation sought to answer these questions:

  • How does having a swimming pool impact on the wellbeing (health and social) of remote Aboriginal communities?
  • What barriers exist to pool use across all age groups in the community and how can they be addressed?
  • Does the school-pool reward system and the use of the pool by the school help young people to overcome barriers to school attendance?
  • Do children and young people who often miss out on school still make use of the swimming pool and derive benefits?

The results of the evaluation provide justification for the expansion of the RASP program into more Aboriginal communities in WA.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Sly JL, Moore SE, Gore F, Brune MN, Neira M, Jagals P, Sly PD (2016)

Children's environmental health indicators in Australia.

Annals of Global Health; 82(1): 156-168

Warren JM, Birrell AL (2016)

Trachoma in remote Indigenous Australia: a review and public health perspective.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health; 40(S1): S48–S52


Heath Jeffery RC (2015)

Social, infectious and environmental determinants of blindness in adult Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australian populations [letter].

Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology; 43(4): 392-394

Lal A, Cornish LM, Fearnley E, Glass K, Kirk M (2015)

Cryptosporidiosis: a disease of tropical and remote areas in Australia.

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases; 9(9): e0004078

Retrieved 22 September 2015 from

McDonald E, Cunningham T, Slavin N (2015)

Evaluating a handwashing with soap program in Australian remote Aboriginal communities: a pre and post intervention study design.

BMC Public Health; 15: 1188

Retrieved 27 November 2015 from

McMullen C, Eastwood A, Ward J (2015)

Environmental attributable fractions in remote Australia: the potential of a new approach for local public health action.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health; Early view(

Shattock AJ, Gambhir M, Taylor HR, Cowling CS, Kaldor JM, Wilson DP (2015)

Control of trachoma in Australia: a model based evaluation of current interventions.

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases; 9(4): e0003474

Retrieved 10 April 2015 from

Shield J, Aland K, Kearns T, Gongdjalk G, Holt D, Currie B, Prociv P (2015)

Intestinal parasites of children and adults in a remote Aboriginal community of the Northern Territory, Australia, 1994–1996.

Western Pacific Surveillance and Response Journal; 6(1): 44-51

Willcocks B, McAuliffe GN, Baird RW (2015)

Dwarf tapeworm (Hymenolepis nana): characteristics in the Northern Territory 2002–2013.

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health; Early view(


Asher AJ, Holt DC, Andrews RM, Power ML (2014)

Distribution of Giardia duodenalis assemblages A and B among children living in a remote Indigenous community of the Northern Territory, Australia.

PLOS ONE; 9(11): e112058

Atkinson JR, Boudville AI, Stanford EE, Lange FD, Anjou MD (2014)

Australian Football League clinics promoting health, hygiene and trachoma elimination: the Northern Territory experience.

Australian Journal of Primary Health; 20(4): 334-338

Bailie RS, Stevens M, McDonald EL (2014)

Impact of housing improvement and the socio-physical environment on the mental health of children's carers: a cohort study in Australian Aboriginal communities.

BMC Public Health; 14: 472

Retrieved 19 May 2014 from

Crowe AL, Smith P, Ward L, Currie BJ, Baird R (2014)

Decreasing prevalence of Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) in the Northern Territory from 2002 to 2012.

Medical Journal of Australia; 200(5): 286-289

Edwards J, Moffat CD (2014)

Otitis Media in remote communities.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal; 21(9): 28

Holman D, Joyce SJ (2014)

A promising future: WA Aboriginal health programs: review of performance with recommendations for consolidation and advance.

Perth, WA: Department of Health, Western Australia

This report, also known as The Holman Review, evaluated the effectiveness of state-funded Indigenous health programs in Western Australia (WA), focusing on the measurement and achievement of clinical health outcomes. The report examined 184 Indigenous health programs and found that the majority deliver value for money and are underpinned by scientific evidence.

The report also found that primary prevention programs are under-funded relative to their significance and that service delivery in regional areas is fragmented. The report recommends that changes be made to the way the WA Department of Health funds and contracts Indigenous health services. The report was commissioned by the WA Department of Health at the request of the State Government and was prepared by independent expert Winthrop Professor D'Arcy Holman, Professor of Public Health at the University of WA.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Jervis-Bardy J, Sanchez L, Carney AS (2014)

Otitis media in Indigenous Australian children: review of epidemiology and risk factors.

Journal of Laryngology and Otology; 128(Supplement S1): S16-S27

Lange FD, Baunach E, McKenzie R, Taylor HR (2014)

Trachoma elimination in remote Indigenous Northern Territory communities: baseline health-promotion study.

Australian Journal of Primary Health; 20(1): 34-40

Marquardt T (2014)

Managing skin infections in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Australian Family Physician; 43(1/2): 16-19

This article provides an overview of some of the issues to consider when managing a patient with a skin infection, which may impact on completion of treatment and development of complications in the long term.

The article recommends management consisting of treatment of the patient through medication and also general measures for the patient, their family and the community as a whole.

Content covered includes:

  • common causes of skin infections
  • bacterial infections
  • viral infections
  • fungal infections
  • parasitic infections
  • management of infections
  • recurrence/persistence
  • non-compliance
  • treatment failure/incorrect diagnosis
  • re-infection
  • isolation/risk of spread
  • general interventions
    • patient specific
    • community based.

The article also provides a case study of a child with scabies and a secondary bacterial component.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Miller A, Smith ML, Judd JA, Speare R (2014)

Strongyloides stercoralis: systematic review of barriers to controlling strongyloidiasis for Australian Indigenous communities.

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases; 8(9): e3141

Retrieved 25 September 2014 from


Cowling CS, Liu BC, Ward JS, Snelling TL, Kaldor JM, Wilson DP (2013)

Australian Trachoma Surveillance annual report, 2011.

Communicable Diseases Intelligence; 37(2): E121-E129

Davies J, Majumdar SS, Forbes RTM, Smith P, Currie BJ, Baird RW (2013)

Hookworm in the Northern Territory: down but not out.

Medical Journal of Australia; 198(5): 278-281

Davis JS, McGloughlin S, Tong SY, Walton SF, Currie BJ (2013)

A novel clinical grading scale to guide the management of crusted scabies.

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases; 7(9): e2387

Retrieved 12 September 2013 from

Gough N, Oates S, Grillet S, Pholeros P (2013)

Infectious disease management for Aboriginal children of Far West NSW.

NSW Public Health Bulletin; 24(2): 95

Holt DC, Burgess STG, Reynolds S, Wajahat M, Fischer K (2013)

Intestinal proteases of free living and parasitic astigmatid mites.

Cell and Tissue Research; 351(2): 339-352

Holt DC, Fischer K (2013)

Novel approaches to an old disease: recent developments in scabies mite biology.

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases; 26(2): 110-115

Johnson B, Gunn J (2013)

A is for antibiotics: mass drug administration as a strategy to control trachoma in remote Indigenous communities.

Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin; 20(4): 23-28

KPMG Australia (2013)

Evaluation of the Thriving Communities program in six Kimberley communities: final report.

Perth, WA: EON Foundation

The Evaluation of the Thriving Communities Program in six Kimberley communities: final report aims to provide an assessment of the process and outcomes of the four EON Foundation programs ran in the communities of Djarindjin/Lombadian, Ardyaloon, Beagle Bay, Yungngora, Looma and Kadjina. The report aims to demonstrate the benefits of the program to the EON board and future funders, and reflect on lessons learnt.

The Thriving Communities Program consists of four components that are designed to reduce the risk of chronic disease:

  • EON Edible Gardens
  • EON Healthy Eating
  • EON Training and Education
  • EON Healthy Homes.

The findings of the evaluation conclude that whilst program outcomes are hard to measure, a community development approach that values long term engagement is the method most likely to be effective in tackling chronic disease.

Abstract adapted from Edge of Nowhere (EON) Foundation

Ross KE, O'Donahoo FJ, Garrard TA, Taylor MJ (2013)

Simple solutions to Strongyloides stercoralis infection.

BMJ; 2013: f6294

Retrieved from

Tietz C (2013)

Health hardware design : a design research journey towards a healthier Australian Indigenous living environment.

Blackheath, NSW: Designlab Oceania


Bailie RS, Stevens M, McDonald EL (2012)

The impact of housing improvement and socio-environmental factors on common childhood illnesses: a cohort study in Indigenous Australian communities.

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health; 66(9): 821-831

Baunach E, Lines D, Pedwel B, Lange F, Cooney R, Taylor HR (2012)

The development of culturally safe and relevant health promotion resources for effective trachoma elimination in remote Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal; 36(2): 9-11,16,19

Edwards K, Fry J (2012)

Nits the Pits - head lice advice launch 2012.

Northern Territory Disease Control Bulletin; 19(2): 14-17

Ejere HOD, Alhassan MB, Rabiu M (2012)

Face washing promotion for preventing active trachoma.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; (4): CD003659

Retrieved 2 September 2011 from

Lange FD, Stanford E, Atkinson JR, Taylor HR (2012)

Clean faces, strong eyes: influencing knowledge, attitudes and practice with health promotion and social marketing [conference poster].

Paper presented at the Victorian Department of Health Aboriginal Health Conference 2012. May 2012, Melbourne

This poster was created for the Victorian Department of Health, Aboriginal Health Conference, 'Aboriginal health - everyone's responsibility', and uses images and bullet points to cover the following areas:

  • explanation and prevalence of trachoma
  • social, cultural, economic and environmental factors contributing to the spread of trachoma
  • goals and strategies of trachoma elimination programs
  • role of culturally appropriate health promotion resources and social marketing
  • trachoma knowledge, attitudes and practice in the Northern Territory in 2011.

Health promotion and social marketing initiatives are provided as case examples, including: the Trachoma story kits, Clean faces, strong eyes, and the Milpa, the trachoma goanna mascot.

It offers a useful summary for Aboriginal Health Workers, health professionals and other community workers looking to change attitudes and practice at the individual and community level.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Lokuge B (2012)

The East Arnhem Scabies Control Program: a community empowerment strategy to eliminate crusted scabies and scabies as public health issues in Australia: 12 month report from March 2011 (launch) to April 2012.

Darwin: One Disease At A Time

National Health and Medical Research Council (2012)

Staying healthy: preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services (5th edition).

Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council

Staying healthy: preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services provides educators and other staff working in education and care services with simple and effective methods for minimising the spread of disease.

The advice aims to reduce the risk of serious infections and infectious diseases spreading through child care centres to the children's families, the workers and the community.

The advice is presented in six parts:

  • concepts of infection control
  • monitoring illness in children
  • procedures
  • issues for employers, educators and other staff
  • fact sheets on diseases common to education and care services
  • forms, useful contacts and websites.

Please note that this guideline is best practice advice to help anyone caring for children make good decisions for children in their care, and not a new set of rules.

The advice contained within these guidelines is drawn from established guidelines that are regularly updated using the principles of evidence-based medicine.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Parameswaran U, Baird RW, Ward LM, Currie BJ (2012)

Melioidosis at Royal Darwin Hospital in the big 2009-2010 wet season: comparison with the preceding 20 year.

Medical Journal of Australia; 196(5): 345-348

Tong SYC, van Hal SJ, Einsiedel L, Currie BJ, Turnidge JD (2012)

Impact of ethnicity and socio-economic status on staphylococcus aureus bacteremia incidence and mortality: a heavy burden in Indigenous Australians.

BMC Infectious Diseases; 12: 249

Retrieved 9 October 2012 from

Last updated: 12 March 2018
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