Dr Hall says more needs to be done to provide basic sanitation
27 July 2017

Partnerships between government and Indigenous stakeholders are needed to overcome a lack of functioning ‘health hardware’ in remote Australian communities - such as taps, toilets and showers, a University of Queensland researcher says.

UQ School of Public Health’s Dr Nina Hall recently highlighted the difficulties of some Indigenous girls accessing sanitary products as part of broader work on water and sanitation issues.

“In response, support has been offered from individuals and community groups including ‘Share the Dignity’ and ‘Days for Girls’,” Dr Hall said.

“It’s been heartening, and I’ve been able to link these offers of help to organisations working in remote communities.

“But it’s not just about giving pads to girls; it’s about them having the knowledge of what to do and where to go and making them feel empowered.

“I now hope to work with remote communities on a strategic way to respond so that an ongoing support network is available.”

Dr Hall said that more needs to be done to address issues around basic sanitation infrastructure and education more broadly to counter issues not seen elsewhere in Australia.

She has been tracking the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals signed by Australia in 2015, which commits to providing access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.

“More than 100,000 Indigenous people live in remote communities. Not all have access to safely managed water and hygiene,” Dr Hall said.

“Issues around maintenance and a lack of functioning hardware, including everything from door locks to taps and washing machines, also need to be addressed to make a real difference in remote communities.

“There are effective case studies that exist in Australia to put the spotlight not only on the problem, but also on the solution.

“What motivates me is linking research to real-life impact for the better, and I see that as a role for researchers.”

 

Media: Sam Benger, s.benger@uq.edu.au +61 7 3365 5118