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Evaluation of the National Trachoma Health Promotion Programme



Evaluation of the National Trachoma Health Promotion Programme

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Report for Indigenous Eye Health, University of Melbourne; Ninti One Research Report NR002


Ninti One Limited


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Report NR002




Ninti One was invited by Indigenous Eye Health (IEH) to conduct an evaluation of the Trachoma Health Promotion Programme (THPP). The project evaluated the work of IEH at the University of Melbourne and its contribution to the goals of the National THPP in six remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia (namely the tristate border region of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia). The intent of the project was to identify community knowledge and perceptions of the THPP and what impact this knowledge had on the respondents and their actions. The outputs will be used by IEH and others working in this field to continue the work of eliminating trachoma and to improve and develop future activities and initiatives. The research was conducted over six locations – Ali Curung, Finke, Lajamanu, Ntaria, Pukatja (Ernabella) and Warburton – ensuring that a sufficiently large and representative sample of people was reached in each community and overall across the population. - Executive summary; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).

Table of contents

Executive summary -- Introduction -- Monitoring and evaluation strategy -- Research process -- Dara from survey questions -- Data analysis -- Conclusion -- Appendix A-B




Prevention and control; Trachoma; Health and hygiene; Ophthalmology; Eye diseases; Aboriginal Australians

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Ninti One Limited

Place of publication

Alice Springs


Report NR002


iv, 38 pages : colour illustrations ; 30 cm.

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Ninti One Research Report NR002 30 Evaluation of the National Trachoma Health Promotion Programme Ninti One Limited Report for Indigenous Eye Health University of Melbourne 6. Conclusion Through the evaluation activities described in this report, many insights have been gained, both about the effectiveness of the messages transmitted by the THPP and how they can achieve greater impact. In the previous section we identified the key findings; trends in the data, exceptions and outliers; and ideas and suggestions made by the participants in the evaluation. To conclude, we offer a number of overall reflections on the findings. In the first place, the level of engagement of community members with the THPP is higher than might have been expected from a reading of Ninti Ones extensive research work on remote and desert services. During research conducted over more than a decade, we have observed that most settings in which Aboriginal people gain access to services put them in the role of passive recipients of a pre-determined and narrow set of options, as opposed to an active chooser of services. Because the THPP is a health promotion programme rather than a service, it might be expected that people are less engaged with it than they could be and that it would be difficult to do an evaluation. We found the opposite. Many people who participated in this evaluation were forthright in their thinking and constructive in offering suggestions about the programme. Many people would like to see improvements and made suggestions on ways to improve the impact of the clean faces messages. They offered a wealth of comments. This indicates that people notice and care about health promotion. It also shows that community people will respond openly and clearly if asked in the right way and in a setting that suits them. The Aboriginal Community Research teams have been crucial in gaining the information that we have secured through this evaluation. Second, there is generally a high level of recognition of the messages being promoted by THPP among the people who participated in the research. We are conscious of a potential bias in that the people who are more engaged in health promotion may have been the ones who offered themselves to participate in the research, as opposed to individuals who may have been unreceptive to health messages.The surveys and focus groups sought to gather community perspectives rather than to target families whose children were most vulnerable to eye infections. Third, it is sometimes said that paper-based information has limited value in remote communities because many people are unaccustomed to holding paper and reading what is on it. Given the data we collected, this point clearly does not apply to the materials from the THPP, which rated equally highly in recognition to broadcast media and community visits as being effective means by which people recognise Milpa and the messages that accompany him. However, it is important to note that people felt that Milpa could have a greater impact through personal interaction, that is, through workshops, visits and community events. Milpa may not have been described with affection in the way that a superhero might be, the Deadly Dan anti-smoking figure being a case in point, with his You smoke, you choke message and cartoon book. But many people see the importance of the Milpa message. They are generally closely engaged in the subject of clean faces and healthy eyes and they appreciate the visibility that comes from a visit from Milpa. Fourth, given the range of different suggestions we heard from participants in the research about ways to improve the impact of the messages, we are careful in offering general summation. We recommend that the reader should visit section 6 to gain a full picture of the subtle differences between suggestions. However, common themes in these suggestions relate to choosing the most effective role and location of Milpa when he visits the community, the way in which he interacts with children and their families and the