Housing Improvement and Child Health (HICH) – Extension

This project is an extension of a NHMRC-funded, CRC for Aboriginal Health in-kind study which commenced in 2003. The aims of the overall study were to provide information to better understand the relationship between housing infrastructure factors and child health, and the variety of community, household and personal factors that mediate this relationship.

The aim of the extension of this study was to complete the collection of data at the remaining three of the original 11 communities, and undertake data analysis and transfer of research data collection back to the last three communities.

The primary objectives of the HICH – Extension project were to:

  • determine the extent to which improvements in household infrastructure reduce the incidence among young children of: (a) skin infections, (b) respiratory infections, (c) gastroenteritis and/or (d) being underweight for age compared to children of the same age who have not experienced improvements in household infrastructure
  • determine the extent to which specific components of household infrastructure impact on the incidence of these conditions
  • examine what other factors operating in the household may be important in ensuring improvements will be effective in improving child health.

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.

The operational objectives of the study were:

  • to conduct a socio-demographic and parent-reported child health survey using the instruments developed in the pilot study
  • to conduct a survey of the household environment, focusing on the functional status of household hardware and on possible confounding factors using the survey methods developed in the pilot study
  • to conduct an audit of health centre records of children whose parents/guardians have provided consent for their participation
  • to determine if there is an improvement in selected health outcomes that can be attributed to the improvements in household infrastructure, and if specific components of infrastructure appear more important in this regard
  • to feed back information about the results of the study to key members of the community.
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