Indigenous children in the Northern Territory are said to have made improvements in oral and ear health, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) on November 28.
The Child Health Check Initiative (CHCI) Closing the Gap (CtG) program saw the funding of audiology and ear, nose and throat (ENT) and dental services from August 2007 to June 2012, with the report presenting information about this period.
"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," said AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman.
The majority of children who were on 'active' CHC referral lists as at June 30, 2012 received follow-up services, with rates for dental referral 94 per cent, ENT referral 97 per cent and almost 100 per cent for audiology referral.
Untreated tooth decay was the most significant oral health problem identified among children who received a dental health service.
Around half of children who had an audiological assessment were diagnosed with hearing loss, with about a third having some degree of hearing impairment 'based on their better ear'.
"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."
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