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Many children have benefited from health services following health checks in the Northern Territory, but not all children have received follow-up services for their health problems, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report, Progress of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Child Health Check Initiative: final report on results from the Child Health Check and follow-up data collections shows that more than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged between 0 and 15 years received a Child Health Check (CHC) under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) between July 2007 and June 2009.

About 97% had at least one health condition or risk factor identified during their check, and 99% received some form of management for a health condition during the CHC including tests (91%), referrals (70%), health advice (69%), medication (53%), vaccinations (7%) and other tests and medical procedures (9%).

The most common health conditions were oral health problems (43%), skin conditions (30%), ear disease (30%) and anaemia (16%).

Among children who had a health check, over 2 out of 3 children (70%) received at least one referral for a health condition, most commonly for primary health care (39%), dental services (35%), audiology (14%) and paediatric services (12%)', said Dr Indrani Pieris-Caldwell from the AIHW.

About 3,500 children received an audiology check, and 44% of those referred for follow-up received subsequent services by an audiologist.

Around 3,350 children received a dental check and 38% of those referred for follow-up received subsequent services by a dentist.
'Many children still had health conditions requiring follow-up services, because of the chronic nature of the health problems they experience', Dr Pieris-Caldwell said.

Nearly 80% of all children were followed-up on their health conditions and the care they received. Of these, 36% needed further health care for a health problem.

'Although comparison of the data over time shows that there were improvements in some areas and fairly high recovery rates for some conditions after a health check, the data also indicate that children have a continuing high need for services.'

Friday 4 December 2009

Further information: Dr Indrani Pieris-Caldwell, AIHW, tel. 02 6244 1162

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.

Full report:  Progress of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Child Health Check Initiative: final report on results from the Child Health Check and follow-up data collections