A case study of physical and social barriers to hygiene and child growth in remote Australian Aboriginal communities

McDonald, Elizabeth, Bailie, Ross, Grace, Jocelyn, and Brewster, David (2009) A case study of physical and social barriers to hygiene and child growth in remote Australian Aboriginal communities. BMC Public Health, 9 (346). pp. 1-14.

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Abstract

Background Despite Australia's wealth, poor growth is common among Aboriginal children living in remote communities. An important underlying factor for poor growth is the unhygienic state of the living environment in these communities. This study explores the physical and social barriers to achieving safe levels of hygiene for these children.

Methods A mixed qualitative and quantitative approach included a community level cross-sectional housing infrastructure survey, focus groups, case studies and key informant interviews in one community.

Results We found that a combination of crowding, non-functioning essential housing infrastructure and poor standards of personal and domestic hygiene underlie the high burden of infection experienced by children in this remote community.

Conclusion There is a need to address policy and the management of infrastructure, as well as key parenting and childcare practices that allow the high burden of infection among children to persist. The common characteristics of many remote Aboriginal communities in Australia suggest that these findings may be more widely applicable.

Item ID: 5594
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Additional Information:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ISSN: 1471-2458
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2009 22:57
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111704 Community Child Health @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 30%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920405 Environmental Health @ 20%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 9
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