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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin

Healthy skin



The Healthy skin program was an initiative of the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH). The primary aim of the program was to minimise the prevalence of scabies and skin sores in Indigenous communities. Using a holistic approach to health, the CRCAH sought to achieve improvements in Indigenous health through comprehensive primary healthcare, prevention, research, changes in policy and practice, and capacity development.

The research priorities of the Healthy skin program included: controlling scabies and skin infections at a regional level using a community-based program; and increasing knowledge on scabies and skin sores to improve the efficacy and sustainability of community-based interventions.

A major focus of the Healthy skin program involved passing on research findings to Aboriginal communities, healthcare providers, health professionals, and policy makers. Such information is disseminated in a user-friendly manner to ensure maximum utility.

Abstract adapted from the Lowtija Institute


Arwen Nikolof
Program Manager
Healthy Skin Program
Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health
Ph: (08) 8201 7825
Fax: (08) 8201 3646

Related publications

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

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

Clucas DB, Carville KS, Connors C, Currie B, Carapetis J, Andrews R (2008)

Disease burden and health-care clinic attendances for young children in remote Aboriginal communities of northern Australia.

Bulletin of the World Health Organization; 86(4): 275-281

Centre for Disease Control (2010)

Healthy Skin Program: guidelines for community control of scabies, skin sores and crusted scabies in the Northern Territory.

Darwin: Northern Territory Department of Health and Families

These guidelines provide information and advice on the diagnosis, treatment and control of scabies, skin sores and crusted scabies. They allow for a community based approach to reduce the incidence of these skin infections. The guidelines were produced by the Northern Territory Centre for Disease Control.

Included in the appendices to the guidelines are:

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Healthy skin story: scabies, skin sores and tinea (2007)

East Arnhem Healthy Skin Project

This booklet provides clear and concise key facts, including pictures, for an understanding of scabies, skin sores and tinea. Information is given on identification, how infections are spread and the control and prevention of an infection.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Recognising and treating skin conditions (2006)

East Arnhem Regional Healthy Skin Project

A resource to assist in the identification and treatment of scabies, skin sores, tinea and other skin conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Pictures and flow charts are used to present the information.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

Reducing skin infections in Aboriginal communities (2008)

Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

The East Arnhem healthy skin project ran for three years from September 2004 to August 2007. During this time a healthy skin program was conducted in five remote Aboriginal communities and the findings are summarised within this fact sheet.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Last updated: 13 September 2013
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