'Lets wipe our infections'

Many Indigenous communities face third-world infections and diseases from poor hygiene, dirty living conditions and genuine poverty. The skin is the body’s largest organ and unfortunately, skin infections and diseases have almost become the norm and often go untreated in Indigenous communities. These skin infections, such as scabies, boils, rashes and sores, if left untreated, can cause life-threatening kidney and heart problems resulting in surgery and even in some cases, causing death.

Indigenous Hip Hop Projects was proud to work with the Njaki Njaki community of Merredin and partner with the Merredin Aboriginal Project Inc. (MAPI), University of Western Australia, Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health and Telethon Kids Institute to create this music video.

In this music video, the koolungars (children) of Njaki Njaki Country want to share with you all they learned from Dr. Asha about how to avoid getting infections that cause skin sores, sore throats and runny ears. These infections are not a normal part of growing up and we must treat them with medicines, otherwise bad bacteria can stay around and cause severe illnesses, including rheumatic heart disease and glomerulonephritis. To have strong health we must go to the clinic for regular checks, go to see the doctor and be proactive in protecting our community and ourselves.

Some of the key messages and factors discussed during this campaign are:

  • Washing hands and face
  • Blowing noses till empty
  • Wash your clothes and bed linen
  • If you have a sore throat or skin sores/boils/rash go see a doctor at the clinic
  • Environmental science
  • Over-crowding in houses
  • Broken taps and washing machines
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Sleeping with family members who may have infectious sores and bugs
  • Getting treatment
  • Covering your sores with Bandaids/bandages

Engage and educate Aboriginal children and their carers to:

Identify the signs and symptoms of skin infections, sore throats, runny noses and glue ears.

Understand how poor hygiene and overcrowding can be responsible for spreading scabies and the transmission of bacterial infections resulting in impetigo and sore throats.

Know infections should not be dismissed and require treatment because some bacteria will cause complications and serious medical conditions, some life-threatening.

Utilise local medical services for regular check-ups, at the onset of signs and symptoms and when unwell.

IHHP – Merredin “Gotta Keep it Strong”

ABC story IHHP and Telethon Kids Skin Health Campaign

Photos of Merredin Skin Health Project