More than $1 million in State Government funding will help research ways to treat skin conditions and improve the health of children in Western Australia's Kimberley region.
Health Minister Kim Hames said the project, a partnership between the Kimberley Aboriginal Health Planning Forum and researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute, was funded for three years with $1.05 million provided through the FutureHealth WA program.
"This project will combine the research expertise of the Telethon Kids Institute with on-the-ground know-how of local Aboriginal services to reduce skin infections in this region," Dr Hames said.
"Tackling skin conditions among children in remote communities is a major focus for regional health and one I've been involved in for a long time.
"Skin infections such as impetigo, or 'school sores', scabies and crusted scabies are major problems in remote Aboriginal communities but they are preventable.
"Without prompt and effective treatment, these common conditions can lead to serious health complications such as chronic kidney disease and possibly rheumatic heart disease."
This study will look into the effective treatment and prevention of the spread of these infections, including:
- mapping of available resources, strengths and gaps in the delivery of skin disease control
- comprehensive training for health workers to better recognise and treat skin infections
- investigation into oral treatments versus topical medication used to treat scabies.
"In the hot and dusty environment of the Kimberley, an oral tablet may be a preferable alternative to the thick cream currently prescribed to patients and those they are likely to be in contact with," the Minister said.
"If we can improve medication compliance among patients and their contacts, we may find ourselves a step closer to controlling the spread of these highly contagious infections."
FutureHealth WA is a State Government initiative providing $30 million over four years for health and medical research in WA
Study is part of a broader skin health program already under way in the Kimberley
State-wide data suggest skin infections account for a big proportion of clinic attendances in regional areas, particularly in children under five
Minister's office - 6552 5300