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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin


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.


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

Heath JR (2014)

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

Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology; Accepted Article(

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

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

The Journal of Laryngology & 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.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

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

Clean faces, strong eyes influencing knowledge, attitudes and practice with health promotion and social marketing (2012)

Lange FD, Stanford E, Atkinson J, Taylor HR

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


Coppa K, Wurrulnga E, Kopczynski A (2011)

Milingimbi healthy homes & skin week.

Paper presented at the Australian Health Promotion Association 20th National Conference. 11 April 2011, Cairns, Qld

enHealth Working Group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health (2011)

8th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference Darwin, NT.

Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing

This conference monograph was produced by the enHealth Working Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health (WGATSIEH), and details the proceedings of the 8th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference held in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre, 27-30 September 2011.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Gilmore SJ (2011)

Control strategies for endemic childhood scabies.

PLoS ONE; 6(1): e15990

Retrieved 25 January 2011 from;jsessionid=EC322D086620F361C24C7F8EA8A8C38E.ambra02?uri=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0015990&representation=PDF

Hii S-F, Kopp SR, Thompson MF, O'Leary CA, Rees RL, Traub RJ (2011)

Molecular evidence of Rickettsia felis infection in dogs from Northern Territory, Australia.

Parasites & Vectors; 4: 198

Retrieved 11 October 2011 from

Hudson S (2011)

One disease at a time: eradicating scabies in east Arnhem Land.

Policy; 27(2): 23-25

McDonald E, Slavin N, Bailie R, Schobben X (2011)

No germs on me: a social marketing campaign to promote hand-washing with soap in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

Global Health Promotion; 18(1): 62-65

McMeniman E, Holden L, Kearns T, Clucas DB, Carapetis JR, Currie BJ, Connors C, Andrews RM (2011)

Skin disease in the first two years of life in Aboriginal children in East Arnhem Land.

Australasian Journal of Dermatology; 52(4): 270–273

Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA (2011)

The West Australian Indigenous storybook : celebrating and sharing good news stories : the Kimberley and Pilbara edition.

Perth, WA: Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA

The West Australian Indigenous storybook (The storybook) is the first in a series of Indigenous storybooks showcasing the achievements of Indigenous communities and people across Western Australia. The stories are from the Kimberley and Pilbara regions. The stories of programs contained within The storybook cover a range of social, economic, health and environmental health achievements. The intention of each program was to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of Indigenous people.

The storybook shares both the successes and failures of the programs, and it is hoped that this will encourage a change in how Indigenous programs are planned, delivered and disseminated.

The storybook covers a range of programs including:

  • healthy lifestyle initiatives
  • community awareness programs relating to suicide and good parenting
  • local government environmental health and health projects
  • effective partnerships
  • social benefit programs.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Australian National Audit Office (2010)

Indigenous housing initiatives: the Fixing Houses for Better Health program.

Canberra: Australian National Audit Office

Bailie R, Stevens M, McDonald E, Brewster D, Guthridge S (2010)

Exploring cross-sectional associations between common childhood illness, housing and social conditions in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

BMC Public Health; 10: 147

Retrieved 20 March 2010 from

Bailie RS, McDonald EL, Stevens M, Guthridge S, Brewster DR (2010)

Evaluation of an Australian Indigenous housing programme: community level impact on crowding, infrastructure function and hygiene.

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health; 65(5): 432-437

Centre for Appropriate Technology (2010)

National Indigenous infrastructure guide.

Alice Springs: Centre for Appropriate Technology

This publication provides a framework to facilitate an understanding of the issues which arise in the provision of infrastructure for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The main focus of the guide is the installation and maintenance of infrastructure which is appropriate and sustainable for remote Indigenous communities. The importance of community in this process is highlighted in the guide.

The National Indigenous infrastructure guide complements the existing National Indigenous Housing Guide and the Environmental Health Handbooks. The guide provides information on:

  • existing research
  • codes and standards
  • resources
  • community infrastructure.

The guide was produced by the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) with funding from the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Department of Health and Families (2010)

Central Australian regional plan 2010-2012.

Darwin: Department of Health and Families, Northern Territory

The central Australia region covers 830,000 square kilometres; with a population of over 46,000 people, 44% identify as Indigenous Australians. Over 32,000 people live in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Yulara. The remainder of the population live in 45 remote communities and outstations. The regional plan has six action areas:

  • Promoting and protecting good health and wellbeing and preventing injury.
  • Healthy children and young people in safe and strong communities.
  • Targeting smoking, alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Connecting care.
  • Safety, quality and accountability.
  • Attract, develop and retain a workforce for the future.

Central Australia is unique in the need for flexible service delivery cross-borders, providing emergency care to more than 4,000 people living outside of the NT, including those people residing in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Dockery AM, Kendall G, Li J, Mahendran A, Ong R, Strazdins L (2010)

Housing and children's development and wellbeing: a scoping study.

Melbourne: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

This study included a review of existing international literature in the area of child ecology, and assessment of the viability of pursuing empirical research within an Australian context. The four main areas addressed in the research question included: the influential factors of particular aspects of housing; implications of future policy and programs; existing Australian databases; and suitable approaches to methodology and analysis.

The research utilised the conceptual framework of Bronfenbrenner's bio-ecological theory which identified the importance of early identification and intervention in childhood development and wellbeing, in particular the links between aspects of housing on later childhood achievements. The housing aspects studied included physical, environmental, social and economic characteristics.

The findings of this study identified a clear need for further research to be conducted in Australia, and highlighted the existing evidence gaps for this area. It acknowledged areas of policy concern including the high proportion of homeless children in Australia, the recognition that Indigenous Australian children experience significantly worse housing variables than non-Indigenous Australian children, and the prevalence of housing stress in Australia, particularly among households with children.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Environmental Health Needs Coordinating Committee (2010)

Environmental health needs of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia: the 2008 survey and its findings.

Perth: Western Australian Department of Health, Public Health Division

The Western Australian Environmental health needs survey was conducted over 2007 and 2008 and is the third survey in a series which surveyed housing, services, utilities, community infrastructure and the immediate living environment in discrete Aboriginal communities in WA. Data collected related to over 15,000 residents from 232 communities. This publication reports the outcomes of this survey and provides a comparison with the outcomes of the 1997 and 2004 surveys.

The survey was conducted by environmental health practitioners who work with and in discrete Aboriginal communities. The practitioners visited the communities to survey existing infrastructure. Information was also collected about levels of community satisfaction and any concerns with the provision of essential, municipal and allied services which influenced and affected environmental health in the communities.

The core environmental health and infrastructure issues covered in the report were:

  • water
  • electricity
  • housing
  • solid waste disposal
  • sanitation
  • dust
  • dog health programs
  • emergency management

The report provides an evidence base which highlights the continued environmental health issues faced by many of the communities who participated in the survey. It is the foundation for the future direction of service plans and delivery in discrete communities.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Holt DC, McCarthy JS, Carapetis JR (2010)

Parasitic diseases of remote Indigenous communities in Australia.

International Journal for Parasitology; 40(10): 1119–1126

Lehmann D, Alpers K (2010)

Impact of swimming pools in remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

Public Health Bulletin SA; 7(3): 32-37

McDonald E, Bailie R, Grace J, Brewster D (2010)

An ecological approach to health promotion in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

Health Promotion International; 25(1): 42-53

McDonald E, Bailie R (2010)

Hygiene improvement: essential to improving child health in remote Aboriginal communities.

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health; 46(9): 491-496


Andrews R, Kearns T (2009)

East Arnhem regional healthy skin project: final report 2008.

Darwin: Menzies School of Health Research and Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

This report details the outcomes of the East Arnhem Regional Healthy Skin Project which was implemented into East Arnhem Land in September 2004 to develop community based control of skin infections in the region. The project involved screening children aged 15 years and younger for scabies, skin sores, and tinea, and also included treatment and follow up services. The results of the project are for a three year period from 2004 to 2007 and are discussed in terms of the prevalence of skin sores, scabies, and tinea over the study period.

Essentially the report highlights the success of the project in reducing skin sore prevalence and infected scabies. The project also led to the establishment of an outreach service model whereby all infants and children attending Baby Health Clinics are screened for skin infections and appropriately treated. Follow up home visits are also provided to those families with children with identified skin infections. The report concludes by remarking that plans exist to continue the project for a further 12 months to determine whether further gains can be made in reducing the prevalence of scabies, skin sores, and tinea.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Andrews RM, Kearns T, Connors C, Parker C, Carville K, Currie BJ, Carapetis JR (2009)

A regional initiative to reduce skin infections amongst Aboriginal children living in remote communities of the Northern Territory, Australia.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases; 3(11): 1-9

Andrews RM, McCarthy J, Carapetis JR, Currie BJ (2009)

Skin disorders, including pyoderma, scabies, and tinea infections.

Pediatric Clinics of North America; 56(6): 1421-1440

Barnett R, Abreu C, Penberthy D (2009)

Mister germ hand washing hygiene and nutrition program.

Paper presented at the 7th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference Kalgoorlie, WA. 12-15 May 2009, Kalgoorlie, WA

Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (2009)

CRC for Aboriginal Health annual report 0809.

Casuarina, NT: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

Healthcare Planning and Evaluation (2009)

Evaluation of the sustainability and benefits of swimming pools in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands (APY lands) in South Australia : final report – de-identified.

Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing

La Vincente S, Kearns T, Connors C, Cameron S, Carapetis J, Andrews R (2009)

Community management of endemic scabies in remote Aboriginal communities of northern Australia: low treatment uptake and high ongoing acquisition.

PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases; 3(5): e444

Retrieved from

McDonald E, Bailie R, Grace J, Brewster D (2009)

A case study of physical and social barriers to hygiene and child growth in remote Australian Aboriginal communities.

BMC Public Health; 9: 346

Retrieved 18 September 2009 from

Schobben X, Clements N (2009)

‘No germs on me' hand washing campaign.

Paper presented at the 7th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Health Conference Kalgoorlie, WA. 12-15 May 2009, Kalgoorlie, WA

Last updated: 16 January 2015
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