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Water supply and sanitation in remote indigenous communities - priorities for health development

Bailie, Ross S., Carson, Bronwyn and McDonald, Elizabeth L. (2004). Water supply and sanitation in remote indigenous communities - priorities for health development. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health,28(5):409-414.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Water supply and sanitation in remote indigenous communities - priorities for health development
Author Bailie, Ross S.
Carson, Bronwyn
McDonald, Elizabeth L.
Journal Name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Publication Date 2004
Volume Number 28
Issue Number 5
ISSN 1326-0200   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 409
End Page 414
Total Pages 6
Place of Publication Australia
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia
Field of Research 1117 - Public Health and Health Services
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Objective:To review available national and State/Territory survey data on water supply and sanitation in remote Indigenous Australian communities and to discuss the findings in terms of priorities for health and infrastructure development.

Methods:Descriptive analysis of data on relevant variables from available data sources.

Results:All relevant published reports arose from only two data sources: the Community Housing and Infrastructure Needs Surveys, and from a Northern Territory-wide survey of community-owned dwellings. The data show that many communities do not have a reliable water supply and experience frequent and prolonged breakdown in sewerage systems. For example, 12% of communities of 50 people or more experienced five or more periods of water restrictions in a one-year period, and 10% of communities experienced sewage overflow or leakage 20 or more times in a one-year period. Items of basic household infrastructure regarded as essential for household hygiene are missing or not functional in many community-owned dwellings. For example, in about one-third of houses bathroom taps and toilet drainage required major repairs.

Conclusion and Implications:Given the widely accepted importance of water and sanitation to health, the data support the contention that poor environmental conditions are a major cause of poor health in remote communities and provide some measure at a national level of the magnitude of the problem. Action to ensure easy access to adequate quantities of water and secure sanitation should receive greater priority. There is need for better quality information systems to monitor progress, equity and accountability in the delivery of water and sanitation services.
Keywords aboriginal communities
otitis-media
children
adulthood
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-842X.2004.tb00021.x   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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