Nganampa Health Council (NHC) has a strong emphasis on child health programs in the areas of immunisation, child health checks, child growth monitoring in the under 5’s and trachoma screening activity (5y –9y).
Program delivery is achieved through a range of strategies including health promotion, disease prevention and through surveillance and screening activities. Child health programs are supported and link with regular visits from Visiting Teams such as the Paediatrican, Opthalmologist, Australian Hearing and the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Team. These strategies focus on improving child health outcomes by facilitating early detection, early intervention and treatment, and timely referral to appropriate tertiary services. The child health program is funded through the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and The Fred Hollows Foundation.
The childhood immunisation program is a primary health care strategy that aims to control vaccine preventable diseases through sustained high levels of vaccine coverage. NHC has sustained childhood immunisation coverage rates well above the national benchmark. In 2010 & 2011, 100% of the permanent child population (birth - 8y) based on the APY Lands were fully immunised. In 2011, the immunisation coverage rate for the Adolescent Vaccination Schedule (13y) was 94%.
Child Health Checks
Child health checks and surveillance activities aim to improve the health and well-being of children living on the APY Lands through the early detection, intervention and appropriate follow-up of problems identified at the time of the check. Child health checks involve:
Annual checks in a targeted age group (5y,10y &13y) across all communities.
Offering opportunistic child health checks to children outside those age cohorts.
Performing a number of screening tests applicable to the specific age group.
Offering treatment and arranging follow-up of problems identified at the check.
Organising appropriate referrals to tertiary health services,
Disease prevention (e.g. immunisation).
Health education for the child and their family.
Child Growth Monitoring (Birth – 5y)
Growth monitoring and surveillance activities endeavour to strengthen and re-orientate child health towards strategies such as prevention, early detection and early intervention as initiatives to improve child health and wellbeing. This is demonstrated by the increase in the number of child growth checks performed by clinical staff. In 2011 1,306 child growth checks were done; an increase from 2010 where 1,072 checks were completed in the under 5’s age group. Anangu Health Workers play an important role in growth monitoring and also assist staff with cultural, family and social aspects of planning care.
Our Nutrition Education and Support Program is based in Alice Springs. Children with severe or intractable growth failure are referred to this team. The team works closely with clinical staff, the Alice Springs Hospital, the Paediatric Team and the NPYWC Nutrition Workers. We provide education and support for mothers and carers of children aged 0-5 years with growth faltering, often due to complex issues. We provide a range of activities that include:
Cooking/food shopping with mums and carers,
Showing how to make up snack packs for children,
Health and hygiene education,
Checking babies and children’s weights,
Providing play and educational activities for children,
Educating about mothercraft skills, child rearing, growth and development.
Funding from the Mary MacKillop Foundation helps support this work.
In 2011, through funding from the SA Department of Health, NHC conducted trachoma screening across all major communities on the APY Lands, with a focus on screening the 5y – 9y age group. Trachoma screening data was collated and reported using the national data collection forms. Over 80% of the targeted population was screened in 2011.
The achievements of our child health programs have been well recognised in the following areas:
- Yr 2011 & 2009 - The Productivity Commission’s Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Reports have recognised our achievements in the areas of immunisation, child health screening and growth monitoring.
- Yr 2006 - NHC was awarded the inaugural Public Health Association of Australia "Infanrix Immunisation Award" for success in demonstrating a significant increase in, or commendable immunisation rates in populations of hard-to-reach children.
Programs Report (Extract from 2009 Annual Report including summary of Child Health program)
2012 Child Health Annual Report
Nganampa Health Council 2011 Programs Annual Report
2009/10 Child Health Report
NHC A Report 09 (959.21 kB)
Child Health (Full Report) (125.04 kB)