Barriers and Enablers of Health Service Utilisation for Childhood Skin Infections in Remote Aboriginal Communities of Western Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, (3), pp. 808-808
Full metadata record
In Australia, children living in remote Aboriginal communities experience high rates of skin infections and associated complications. Prompt presentation to primary care health services is crucial for early diagnosis and treatment. We performed a qualitative study in four remote Aboriginal communities in the Pilbara region of Western Australia to explore factors that affected health service utilisation for childhood skin infections in this setting. The study consisted of semistructured interviews and focus group discussions with parents and carers (n = 16), healthcare practitioners (n = 15) and other community service providers (n = 25). We used Andersen’s health service utilisation model as an analytical framework. Our analysis captured a wide range of barriers that may undermine timely use of health services for childhood skin infections. These included general factors that illustrate the importance of cultural competency amongst healthcare providers, patient-centred care and community engagement. Relating specifically to health service utilisation for childhood skin infections, we identified their apparent normalisation and the common use of painful benzathine penicillin G injections for their treatment as important barriers. Health service utilisation in this setting may be enhanced by improving general awareness of the significance of childhood skin infections, actively engaging parents and carers in consultation and treatment processes and strengthening community involvement in health service activities.
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