Report on Child Health Check Initiative report 2007 – 2012 released

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has released a report on Northern Territory Emergency Response - Child Health Check Initiative (CHCI)— Follow-up services for oral and ear health: final report 2007–2012.

RAHC works closely with the Department of Health and Aboriginal Medical Services to assist in the delivery of these oral and ear health programs. RAHC congratulates these services on the achievements outlined in the report.

Some of the key findings in the report were:

  • Improvements have been made in the oral and ear health of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory.
  • Although open to all Indigenous children under 16 years of age living in prescribed communities, this program specifically targeted those who received referrals from their Child Health Checks.
  • 'Over the course of the whole program, around 17,200 dental services were received by 9,300 children and 9,200 audiology services were received by 5,700 children.
  • A further 3,800 ENT consultations were provided to over 2,600 children by the conclusion of the ENT component of the program in December 2010.
  • Between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2010, 291 ENT surgeries were performed on 283 children.
  • At 30 June 2012, the majority of children who were on active CHC referral lists received follow-up services. The follow-up rates were 94% for dental referral, nearly 100% for audiology referral and 97% for ENT referral.
  • The most significant oral health problem among children who received an oral health service was untreated caries (decay).
  • Around one-half of the children who had an audiological assessment were diagnosed with hearing loss and around one-third were diagnosed with some degree of hearing impairment based on their better ear. At least one type of middle ear condition was diagnosed in around two-thirds of children who received an audiology or ENT service.
  • 'The good news is there have been improvements,' Dr Al-Yaman said.
  • 'For children who had more than one course of dental care, the overall prevalence for children with at least one oral health problem fell by 12 percentage points.'
  • o   Among children who had two or more audiology checks, the prevalence of hearing loss fell by 10 percentage points. About 60% of children who were diagnosed with hearing impairment at their first check showed some degree of improvement at their last audiology check. The prevalence of middle ear conditions fell by 21 percentage points among children who received two or more audiology/ENT services.

RAHC is mentioned on page 15 of the report, the excerpt is below:

‘The CHCI (CtG) Program sits within Oral Health Services NT (OHSNT) and provides outreach services and treatment under general anaesthetic to this population group. These outreach services are provided by dental therapists, dentists and dental assistants—employed by the Remote Area Health Corps (RAHC)—who visit the remote communities for 3-week blocks. This service delivery model increases the capacity for providing services without compromising the staffing of regular services. Oral health treatment under general anaesthetic is provided at NT public hospitals using a mix of local staff and staff provided through RAHC and through agreements with Westmead Children’s Hospital and the John James Foundation’

The report is available at  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare publications page.


Tuesday, 4 December 2012