Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+ Share by Email

Skip to content

Key resources

  • Bibliography
  • Health promotion
    Health promotion
  • Health practice
    Health practice
  • Yarning places
    Yarning places
  • Programs
  • Organisations
  • Conferences
  • Courses
  • Funding
  • Jobs
Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin



Leach AJ, Wigger C, Beissbarth J, Woltring D, Andrews R, Chatfield MD, Smith-Vaughan H, Morris PS (2016)

General health, otitis media, nasopharyngeal carriage and middle ear microbiology in Northern Territory Aboriginal children vaccinated during consecutive periods of 10-valent or 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.

International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology; 86: 224-232


Hendrickx D, Stephen A, Lehmann D, Silva D, Boelaert M, Carapetis J, Walker R (2015)

A systematic review of the evidence that swimming pools improve health and wellbeing in remote Aboriginal communities in Australia.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health; Early view(


Menzies R, Andrews R (2014)

Immunisation issues for Indigenous Australian children.

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health; 50(10): E21–E25


Abbott P, Menzies R, Davison J, Moore L, Wang H (2013)

Improving immunisation timeliness in Aboriginal children through personalised calendars.

BMC Public Health; 13: 598

Retrieved 20 June 2013 from

Chiu C, McIntyre P (2013)

Pneumococcal vaccines – past, present and future.

Australian Prescriber; 36(3): 88-93

Cultural & Indigenous Research Centre Australia (2013)

Evaluation of the National Indigenous Ear Health Campaign: final report.

Canberra: Care for Kids’ Ears

McDonald E (2013)

Evaluation of implementation of best practice models of care based on the updated recommendations for clinical care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Darwin: Menzies School of Health Research

This report evaluates the Otitis media guidelines program, which aimed to enhance the capacity of general practitioners and other primary health care providers to provide high quality treatment for otitis media (OM) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The project was implemented from June 2012, for 12 months within eight sites, located in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The aims and objectives of the program were to:

  • increase awareness of the updated recommendations for clincial care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander populations
  • improve the uptake of best practice service delivery for the prevention, early detection and management of OM in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander children
  • increase diagnosis and appropriate referral of OM in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander children aged 0-4 years.

Key points identified by the evaluation include:

  • The needs identified by services to integrate guideline use into their practices varied and it was important that services had the opportunity to identify their own specific needs.
  • Flexibility in planning the implementation of programs at the local level was essential and that no one plan would be suitable for all.
  • Ongoing practical training in clinical detection and management of OM is needed across the agencies in order to meet the necessary demand and staff turnover issues.
  • The success in embedding the recommendations of the guidelines into practice in many services was often the result of leadership from practice management and the motivation, initiative and energy and other personal qualities of the practice nurses (or equivalent) employed by each of the service.
  • The collaborative care model is seen as flexible and best able to meet the needs of disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with OM. This model promotes that health service providers from different professions and agencies provide comprehensive services by working with people, their families, care providers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract


Hill S (2012)

Ear disease in Indigenous Australians: a literature review.

Australian Medical Student Journal; 3(1): 45-49

Huntley P, Woods B, Rudge S (2012)

Healthy Ears, Happy Kids: a new approach to Aboriginal child ear health in NSW.

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin; 23(4): 60-61

Leach A (2012)

Using pneumococcal vaccines (Prevenar13 & Synflorix) in combination for maximum protection from ear infections: Prev-Ix_Combo.

The Chronicle; 23(1): 24-25

Sanchez L, Carney S, Estermann A, Sparrow K, Turner D (2012)

An evaluation of the benefits of swimming pools for the hearing and ear health status of young Indigenous Australians: a whole-of-population study across multiple remote Indigenous communities.

Adelaide: School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University

This document reports on a study to investigate whether the use of swimming pools by school-age Indigenous children in remote semi-arid communities in central Australia results in the reduction and possible prevention of conductive hearing loss related to otitis media (OM) in these children.

Between 2009 - 2011, multiple clinical assessments of ear health and hearing - including Ear, nose and throat (ENT) diagnoses - were conducted on 813 school age children, which allow comparison of the results for children living in the four Anangu communities with a swimming pool compared to those living in the six communities without a pool. Many children were assessed on multiple occasions with 46% of the children being assessed on at least three of the possible six occasions over the three year study period (2107 child assessments in total).

The study's results demonstrate that access to swimming pools does not result in improvement in any of three principal measured indices of hearing or ear health. Additionally, in relation to the policy of 'no school, no pool', there is no evidence that access to a swimming pool results in improved school attendance. Further, results show previously undescribed seasonal differences in the prevalence of eardrum perforations in these Indigenous populations. Other results show significant associations between dry eardrum perforation and hearing loss and age.

This research report was funded by the Hearing Loss Prevention Program of the Department of Health and Ageing and conducted by Flinders University and its collaborating partner, the Anangu Education Service of the South Australian (SA) Department of Education and Child Development.

Abstract adapted from Flinders University

Simmons K, Rotumah V, Cookson M, Grigg D (2012)

Child hearing health coordinators tackle ear and hearing health in the NT.

The Chronicle; 23(1): 22-23


Howard D, Fasoli L, McLaren S, Wunungmurra A (2011)

Dangerous listening: the exposure of Indigenous people to excessive noise.

Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal; 35(1): 3-8

New South Wales Health Promotion Division (2011)

Aboriginal ear health program guidelines.

Sydney: New South Wales Ministry of Health

Sun W, Monck R, Forrest M, Gilchrist B, Stokes A , Mahony A, Douglas C , Jeffries‐Stokes C, Lannigan F, Lehmann D, Bega Garbirringu Health Service , Ngunytju Tjitji Pirni  (2011)

Pina palya, pina kulilku (good ears, good learning).

Paper presented at the 11th National Rural Health Conference. 3-16 March 2011, Perth Convention Centre


Darwin Otitis Guidelines Group (2010)

Recommendations for clinical care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Darwin: Menzies School of Health Research

The updated Recommendations for clinical care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations builds on the 2001 guidelines using recent research and an explicit search and critical appraisal of the medical literature between 2001 and 2010. The original guidelines were directly linked to the Systematic review of existing evidence and primary care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

The guidelines are intended for use by health care professionals who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. This includes Aboriginal health workers, Aboriginal ear health workers, primary care and specialist physicians, nurses, remote nurses and nurse practitioners, audiologists, audiometrists, speech therapists, and child development specialists (including advisory visiting teachers and teachers of the deaf).

The clinical care guidelines are published by Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH) and were prepared by the Darwin Otitis Guidelines Group in collaboration with the OATSIH Otitis Media Technical Advisory Group. They are designed to facilitate the delivery of comprehensive, effective and appropriate ear health programs.

The clinical care guidelines are divided into sections: prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, medical management, audiological management of associated hearing loss, practical considerations in health care delivery, and prioritisation of primary health care services in different settings. They aim to offer a series of clear recommendations for the clinical care of Indigenous Australians that are:

  • based on the best available evidence
  • acceptable to a multi-disciplinary expert panel experienced in this area
  • presented in plain language and algorithms.

The sources of information used include:

  • evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, evidence summaries and systematic reviews
  • high quality primary research on otitis media and hearing loss.

The following separate resources are also included:

  • what's new in the 2010 update of the clinical care guidelines - two page flyer
    • a brief summary of the new features of the guidelines and the research and review processes that went into the new edition
    • an outline of the aim, background, contents and use of the guidelines
  • practical treatment plans and prioritisation of primary health care services in different settings - four page brochure
    • a brief introduction to otitis media (OM) and the sources of information on which the guidelines are based
    • a summary of practical treatment plans for the management of childhood otitis media in populations at high risk of chronic otitis media (chronic suppuratives otitis media, CSOM)
    • a snap shot of health care service priorities when working with limited resources
  • clinical care algorithms - eight laminated A4 sized cards
    • algorithms graphing diagnosis and management of otitis media and hearing loss to assist with clinical care
  • pocket guide for the diagnosis and management of ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
    • includes photographic and written description of the symptoms, diagnostic and management notes
    • can be attached to a key ring or otoscope
  • key messages for primary health care providers - A3 sized poster
    • a 10 point list of actions to remember when working with Indigenous families to treat and prevent otitis media in Indigenous children.
The practical treatment plan, pocket guide and algorithms are colour coded according to the type of otitis media allowing for quick cross referencing between the resources. All separate resources are also included within the bound guideline book.

Abstract adapted from Recommendations for clinical care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations

Doyle J, Ristevski E (2010)

Less germs, less mucus, less snot: teachers' and health workers' perceptions of the benefits and barriers of ear health programs in lower primary school classes.

Australian Journal of Primary Health; 16(4): 352-359

Wunungmurra A, Howard D, Fasoli L (2010)

Listening troubles and little kids.

Paper presented at the SNAICC National Conference. 27-29 July 2010, Alice Springs

Last updated: 26 July 2016
Return to top
general box


Share your information » Give us feedback » Sign our guestbook »