Maternal, Child and Youth Health (MCYH) provides program support, training and practical assistance to remote area health centres and communities for core programs such as pregnancy care Growth Assessment and Action, and Healthy School Aged Kids. In addition, the Strong Women, Strong Babies Strong Culture Program is supported in 15 communities and funding has been allocated to support community-based child health workers to boost local child health capacity.
The MCYH program is working collaboratively with the non-government Aboriginal Medical Service.
Growth Assessment and Action (GAA) Program
The aim of the Northern Territory Government's Growth Assessment and Action (GAA) program is to improve the growth and nutritional status of children 0-5 years living in remote communities. GAA involves regular monitoring of growth and implementation of early action if growth falters.
GAA has 3 main objectives:
- Timely and accurate growth and anaemia monitoring of individual children
- Appropriate and timely intervention of growth faltering i.e. "Action Plans"
- Reporting nutritional status, including anaemia prevalence at community, district and territory level
The Northern Territory Growth Assessment and Action report currently provides population level information on the growth status of Indigenous children under five in remote communities across the NT. Usually 78-80 communities participate in each collection. The report includes details of the program coverage, reporting the number of children measured compared with the number of resident children. The report also provides rates of stunting, wasting, underweight and anaemia for the whole NT and by broad geographical regions.
Trend data of parameters from the previous 5 years and comparisons by age groups are also presented. There has been a slight but steady decrease in underweight and anaemia over the past 6 years.
- Data is analysed against the Center for Disease Control - Atlanta (CDC, 2000) data http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts
- Wasting is defined as 'below minus two standard deviations from median weight for height of reference population',
Stunting is defined as 'below minus two standard deviations from median height for age of reference population', and
Underweight is defined as 'below minus two standard deviations from median weight for age of reference population'.
- WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutritionhttp://www.who.int/nutgrowthdb/en and UNICEF, State of the World's Children, 2001, http://www.unicef.org/sowc01/tablesTable 2