Scabies and skin infections focus at Top End Health Service public health workshop

The Top End Health Service Public Health Workshop was held in Darwin at the Michael Long Learning and Leadership Centre from Wednesday 30th October to Friday 1st November 2019. This workshop included a strong focus on scabies and skin infections in the Northern Territory.

The event hosted a gathering of communicable disease, environmental health, community and remote health practitioners.

The morning session on Thursday 31st October was dedicated to skin health.

With Christine Connors, the General Manager for Primary Health Care, the audience was taken through a historical review of work in the region to address scabies and skin infections.

Prof. Bart Currie then highlighted more recent regional and global initiatives to control and eliminate scabies, including MDA projects.

Michael Spry and Jerimiah Baker, from the Miwatj Environmental Health Program shared with the audience their plan for a coordinated and culturally appropriate response to addressing skin health in the East Arnhem region.

The highlight of the morning for many was the presentation by three Health Practitioner/ Educators from the East Arnhem community of Galiwinku. Wanamula, Djarrupi and Gurrimangu shared with the audience the work they do on a daily basis providing skin health promotion messages to members of the community. They also shared the decades of experience that they have in planning and executing Healthy Skin Days. The ladies took the audience back in time by showing video footage of one of the early skin days that was held 20 years ago in 1999 then bought us back to 2019 by talking about the slightly different approach that will be taken for the 2019 Healthy Skin days. The change in approach will ensure that all people with scabies receive 2 doses of either Permethrin Cream or Ivermectin to ensure that treatment is successful.

To complete the skin session, Meg Scolyer, One Disease Senior Public Health Nurse, highlighted the action and achievements of One Disease in working towards Eliminating Crusted Scabies, and provided a detailed overview of creating and maintaining Scabies Free Zones