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

McDonald, Elizabeth L., Bailie, Ross S., 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(1):346-359.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title A case study of physical and social barriers to hygiene and child growth in remote Australian Aboriginal communities
Author McDonald, Elizabeth L.
Bailie, Ross S.
Grace, Jocelyn
Brewster, David
Journal Name BMC Public Health
Publication Date 2009
Volume Number 9
Issue Number 1
ISSN 14712458   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 346
End Page 359
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication London, U.K.
Publisher BioMed Central Ltd.
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 crosssectional 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.
Keywords Aboriginal children
poor growth
unhygienic state of the living environment
physical and social barriers
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-9-346   (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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