An update from South Australia about trachoma elimination efforts

In South Australian the Trachoma Elimination Program is coordinated by Country Health SA Local Health Network in partnership with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in at-risk communities. The first 4 months of the year have been busy as we engage with our communities to develop localised programs. Nganampa Health Council commenced trachoma and trichiasis screening on the APY Lands in March, assisted by Aboriginal Community Services with the roll out of their environmental and health promotion activities.

The establishment of Aboriginal Community Advisory Committees on the APY Lands brings key community members together to build local capacity, develop local solutions and to reinforce the eye health messages in community.  Indigenous Eye Health visited the APY Lands in April to run education sessions in schools and clinics in collaboration with the Aboriginal Community Services program ‘Kuru Ngukintjuku’.

Discussions were held with the Commonwealth Department of Health, Kirby Institute, Indigenous Eye Health and the Aboriginal Health Council of SA regarding the removal of communities on the at risk list in South Australia in accordance with the national Guidelines for the Public Health Management of Trachoma in Australia.  This resulted in four communities being removed from the at risk list in South Australia, which is a fantastic achievement considering the housing and environmental health complexities that exist.

A key focus for the next 6 months will be the development of a population and environmental health training package aimed at the Aboriginal health workforce across rural and remote South Australia to assist in the sustainable elimination of trachoma and other infectious diseases. Environmental health will feature prominently on the agenda of the SA Trachoma Elimination Strategy Committee, which will meet in June, to ensure a coordinated and targeted approach to environmental health activities, advocacy and service improvement.

Country Health SA Local Health Network would like to thank Ceduna Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service, Pika Wiya Aboriginal Health Service, Nganampa Health Council, Tullawon Health Services and the Aboriginal Health Council of SA for their commitment and contribution to the elimination of trachoma in their regions.