SITting with communities to SToP skin infections
Investigators: Asha Bowen, Cheryl Bridge, Frieda Mc Loughlin, Janine McNamara, John Jacky, Jonathan Carapetis, Juli Coffin, Kristen White, Marianne Mullane, Natasha Maginnis, Slade Sibasado, Tracy McRae
External collaborators: Ray Christophers (Nirrumbuk Environment Health and Services), Roz Walker (University of Western Australia), Vicki O'Donnell (Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Limited), Bec Smith (WA Country Health Services)
Skin infections in remote Australian Aboriginal children are the highest in the world with almost one in two children experiencing school sores at any time. Up to 15% of Aboriginal babies in the Kimberley are admitted to hospital before their first birthday for a skin infection. Skin infections often go undetected and cause itching, discomfort, and school absence; and if left untreated, could lead to sepsis, kidney and heart disease. Environmental factors such as overcrowding in homes, poor hygiene, and limited access to laundry facilities play a role in keeping the highly contagious skin infections as a big problem. It is these environmental factors that if modified could contribute to reducing skin infections – through targeted prevention activities and community knowledge.There are currently few resources available that inform people about environmental health (EH) and how EH practices can help prevent skin infections. Developing these resources is needed as achieving healthy skin through prevention of skin infections is a shared priority between community members and the researchers.
In the Kimberley, EH teams are active and work in partnership with clinical teams. This project will build on these connections to develop health promotion and EH resources tailored for each community to address skin infections from a holistic prevention approach . We will work in partnership with the participating Aboriginal communities to co-design, implement and evaluate a skin health promotion campaign embedded within the SToP trial to help prevent skin infections. The SToP trial is the first Australian healthy skin study to incorporate environmental health and health promotion elements. SToP is a collaboration between Telethon Kids Institute, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services including Nirrumbuk EH and WA Country Health Services – Kimberley. The project will be implemented in nine remote Kimberley communities: Ardyaloon, Beagle Bay, Djarindjin, Lombadina, Bidyadanga, Balgo, Bililuna, Mulan, and Warmun.
Program Head, END RHD and Team Lead, Healthy Skin and ARF Prevention
Head, Kulunga Aboriginal Unit / Aboriginal Health RFA Deputy Head+61 86319 1270 Email me
Executive Director; Head, Strep A and Rheumatic Heart Disease; Co-Founder of REACH08 6319 1000 Email me