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Improving hygiene and children's health in remote Indigenous communities
This project investigated the physical and social issues that prevent remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory from reaching safe levels of hygiene.
The aim of the project was to identify interventions that would be effective in addressing these barriers to safe hygiene levels, and investigate hygiene improvement as a way to reduce the high levels of common childhood infection. The project also focused was on those barriers which prevent the hygiene needs of young children from being satisfactorily met. Key findings of the project included:
- extreme levels of disadvantage, including social, economic and educational disadvantage, underlie why unsanitary living conditions and poor hygiene exist in many remote Indigenous communities
- crowding, non-functioning health hardware (toilet, taps, showers etc) and poor standards of personal and domestic hygiene, combined, are considered to underlie the high burden of infection experienced by children
- additional housing is urgently required to reduce household crowding, but it is of equal importance to ensure that essential items of housing infrastructure remain functional
- many of the barriers to hygiene improvement in these communities are at policy and systems levels.
Abstract adapted from Primary Health Care Research & Information Service
Senior Research Officer
Menzies School of Health Research
John Matthews Building
Royal Darwin Hospital Campus
Casuarina NT 0810
Ph: (08) 8946 8600
Fax: (08) 8946 8464
Bailie RS, Stevens MR, McDonald E, Halpin S, Brewster D, Robinson G, Guthridge S (2005)
Skin infection, housing and social circumstances in children living in remote Indigenous Australian communities: testing conceptual and methodological approaches.
BMC Public Health; 5(1): 128
Retrieved 8 December 2005 from http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1471-2458-5-128.pdf