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East Arnhem Healthy Skin project

The East Arnhem Healthy Skin Project (EAHSP) aimed to reduce the prevalence of scabies, skin sores and tinea in five remote Aboriginal communities, as these conditions are endemic in children aged under 15 years.

Skin infections are most commonly due to Group A streptococcal bacteria. These have been linked with outbreaks of acute post streptococcal glomerulonephritis (kidney disease) and the very high rates of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. Indeed, Indigenous Australians have one of the highest rates of rheumatic heart disease and renal disease in the world. To reduce the prevalence of skin infections the EAHSP conducted a comprehensive healthy skin program that included annual mass community scabies treatment days and routine screening and treatment of skin infections.

In 2008/09 the Healthy Skin Project Leaders and the CRC for Aboriginal Health updated the project's healthy skin resources to raise awareness about the impact of skin conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout Australia, with the objective to support health services and practitioners to recognise and treat skin conditions.

These resources went through a lengthy quality assurance process to make sure lessons learnt from the research undertaken in the East Arnhem region of the Northern Territory were transferred to a national audience; to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia; to health services and to government.

The Healthy Skin package – a policy brief, the Final Report on the East Arnhem Healthy Skin project, and a flipchart to support Aboriginal Health Workers and health practitioners to recognise and treat skin conditions - was disseminated in October 2009 to the community controlled health sector and other organisations providing health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as government and education.

Related resources

Project leader

Ross Andrews, Christine Connors

Contact:

N/A

Administering institution:

Menzies School of Health Research