Cough Scratch Cry

A remote nursing experience in the NT Australia (part 7)

The incidence of ill-health in remote aboriginal communities was astounding. As mentioned  in a previous article 90% of the population were seen every month. Skin infections of various varieties ranked highly with scabies, boils, fungal and non-specific skin sores the most popular.

Infected scabies












Of course head lice was pretty much the norm in kids and many adults.

Lice being removed – see all those tiny black specks!



Ear infections were in good supply and many school age children were seen with pus running from their ears. I washed out maggots and dead flies from ears many times. Take a moment to think – how are these kids supposed to learn when they can barely hear!

Younger children with thick yellow mucous running from their noses was also common – we called these “number 11s”.

Chest and upper respiratory tract infections in youngsters from just a few months of age to toddlers were all too frequent and unfortunately the recommended treatment was an injection of penicillin – a very painful procedure for such little people!

Skin sores – “biggest mobs of”



I would like to think that there has been some improvement in remote aboriginal community health but relatively recent information unfortunately suggests otherwise.

Two reliable links are included here if you wish to be staggered by the lack of improvement in health and the appalling health statistics (article 1 and article 2)

Bob Goodwin –

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