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Improving the state of health hardware in Australian Indigenous housing: building more houses is not the only answer
Pages 435-440 435-440
Publication Type
  1 document  
Paul Pholeros
Tess Lea
Stephan Rainow
Tim Sowerbutts
Paul J. Torzillo
Author Affiliation
Healthabitat, Newport Beach, Sydney, Australia
Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Q Social Research Consultants, Marrickville, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Pages 435-440 435-440
Geographic Location
Publication Type
Digital File Format
Text - PDF
Physical Holding
University of Alaska Anchorage
Australia Cost-Benefit Analysis Health Status Housing*/economics Housing*/standards Housing*/statistics & numerical data Humans Oceanic Ancestry Group/statistics & numerical data*
BACKGROUND: This article outlines a program of applied research and development known as Housing for Health that, over the period 1999-2012, targeted health-related improvements in housing for Indigenous householders in communities across regional and remote Australia. In essence, the program focuses on measuring the functionality of key appliances and structures (we term this "health hardware") against clear criteria and ensuring identified faults are fixed. METHODS: Detailed survey and assessment of all aspects of housing was undertaken, particularly focusing on the function of health hardware. All results were entered into a database and analyzed. RESULTS: The results demonstrate extremely poor initial performance of the health hardware. A key finding is that attention to maintenance of existing houses can be a cost-effective means of improving health outcomes and also suggests the need to superintend the health-conferring qualities of new infrastructure. We briefly outline the early foundations of the Housing for Health program, major findings from data gathered before and after improvements to household amenities, and our efforts to translate these findings into broader policy. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that simply injecting funds into housing construction is not sufficient for gaining maximum health benefit.
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