Western Australia

More than 19,500 to benefit from free soap

Free soap will be offered to communities in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Mid-West and Goldfields regions to help reduce the incidence of trachoma and other diseases in regional WA.

The Squeaky Clean Kids program will provide soap to communities at risk of trachoma or trachoma resurgence, and promote hygiene messages there and in local schools.

Australia is the only developed country with trachoma, a bacterial infection which causes inflammation of the inside of the eyelid, that if left untreated, can cause scarring and blindness.

Trachoma is spread through contact with eye and nasal discharge of an infected person.

There are no obvious symptoms of trachoma in its early stages, which is why prevention methods are so important.

The WA Trachoma Control Program has been effective in reducing trachoma prevalence in these communities from 24 per cent in 2006 to 2.6 per cent in 2015, and the Squeaky Clean Kids program aims to help reduce this further.

Soap for this program has been donated by SoapAid, an Australian not-for-profit organisation that collects, sorts, cleans and reprocesses soap from hotels into new bars.

The WA Country Health Service has partnered with SoapAid, the WA Department of Health’s Environmental Health Directorate, the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, regional Aboriginal corporations, regional schools and local governments, to deliver the program in the four health regions.

Source: WA Government