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Housing Improvement and Child Health (HICH) - Extension



The Housing Improvement and Child Health (HICH) - Extension project looked at the link between housing infrastructure issues and child health outcomes (skin infections, respiratory infections, gastroenteritis and being underweight) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The project built on the original National Health and Medical Research funded HICH project which commenced in 2003. The aim of this project was to collect data from three communities not reached out of the original 11. The primary objectives of the HICH - Extension project were to:

It is proposed that the research findings be widely disseminated to government agencies and councils to assist with prioritising urgent repairs, scheduling maintenance and improving understanding within communities of the importance of the link between housing and health.

Abstract adapted from the Lowitja Institute


Professor Ross Bailie
Menzies School of Health Research
PO Box 41096
Casuarina NT 0811
Ph: (07) 3720 9114
Fax: (07) 3720 9454

Related publications

Bailie R (2011)

The housing improvement and child health study – informing further development of community housing programs.

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

How can community housing programs contribute to improving child health? (2008)

Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health

The project Housing improvement and child health (HICH) study, undertaken by the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH), is described within this factsheet, and is the largest and most comprehensive study to date on the impact of improvements in household infrastructure on the health of young children and their carers.

Adapted from Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH) abstract

Kowal E, Donohoe P, Lonergan K, Ulamari H, Bailie RJ (2005)

Dust, distance and discussion: fieldwork experiences from the housing improvement and child health study.

Environmental Health; 5(3): 59-72

The poor state of Indigenous health is in part attributable to poor housing and household environments. The Housing Improvements and Child Health study is a large research project that aims to improve understanding of the relationship between the household environment and child health in remote Indigenous communities, particularly the impact of improved housing stock. The collection of remote community household data for research purposes presents a number of challenges. This paper relates our experiences in this area. We discuss issues of survey design, including language, pilot testing, and innovations in the assessment of household function and condition. We then consider the processes of engaging remote communities in the study and administration of the surveys, including informed consent, the effect of researcher characteristics on data collection, confidentiality and the process of feeding back survey findings to community stakeholders. We conclude with a discussion of the critical lessons from our fieldwork experience. In discussing these issues, we aim to promote discussion of the challenges of working in remote Indigenous communities, and ultimately to improve fieldwork practice and the quality and use of research data in improving living conditions in remote communities.

Journal of Environmental Health Australia


Last updated: 16 December 2016
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