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North Coast Area Health Service Aboriginal environmental health program
The purpose of this program is for the NSW Department of Health, through its North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS), to work with Aboriginal communities to find and fix environmental health problems.
Many of the Aboriginal communities in the North Coast region are in remote locations and are on separate water and sewer systems to the town supply.
Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) from the Public Health Unit at the NCAHS regularly meet with these Aboriginal communities to work out what needs fixing and how.
Past programs run by communities and EHOs together focused on:
- Community action rodent eradication program (CARE): this program was aimed at reducing rodents in the communities - the program included an educational component and supported housing repairs and maintenance crew from the community
- community clean-ups: working with Aboriginal communities to develop waste minimisation strategies and to prevent the accumulation of waste products that present a health and safety risk to the community - EHOs assist by communicating with relevant stakeholders and advocate for funding
- infrastructure upgrades: assisting communities in advocating for funding to upgrade infrastructure - EHOs work with other Government Organisations to ensure that sustainability concepts are an integral component of infrastructure upgrades
- water quality monitoring: EHOs are involved in the NSW Health Colisure Water Quality Monitoring Program, consisting of monthly microbiological samples being taken from Aboriginal communities which are not connected to a reticulated town water supply and are responsible for the management and maintenance of the systems - the monitoring program has been further developed with the recent introduction of monthly chemical samples being taken from these communities
- Mister germ: a hand washing program targeted at all students in preschool - stakeholders include Aboriginal Health and Health Promotion Coordinator for the Regional Health Service Program.
Abstract adapted from Mid North Coast Local Health District
Environmental Health Section
Public Health Unit
North Coast Area Health Service
PO Box 498
31 Uralba Street
Lismore Vic 2480
Ph: (02) 6620 7527
Ph: (02) 6620 7525
Fax: (02) 6622 2151