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It’s Apples on Boigu

21 February 2020

It’s all Apples on Australia’s northernmost health facility on Boigu Island.

A tremendous community engagement effort by staff at the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service’s Boigu Primary Healthcare Centre has resulted in every staff member winning a new iPad.

Boigu PHCC staff enrolled 32 patients out of the 300 who participated in the recently completed Cellulitis Outpatient Intravenous Antibiotic Study (COAST).

Thursday Island GP Registrar Dr Allison Hempenstall, who led the study, said this was the largest number of patients enrolled per head of island population and was a great achievement for a small community and clinic.

“I’d like to commend the Boigu PHCC and all the other Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area health facilities who participated so enthusiastically in this important study,’’ she said.

“They and the patients who participated in the study will be contributing to better health outcomes for all people in the Torres Strait and NPA.’’

The 12-month COAST study aims to determine if cellulitis can be managed with antibiotics by nurses and health workers within the community rather than in a hospital setting as is commonly the case.

“If in-community management of cellulitis is found to be as effective as in-hospital management – which has been found to be the case in other parts of Australia – it will save many Torres Strait Islander people having to be transported to and admitted to hospital,’’ Dr Hempenstall said.

Cellulitis is an infection caused when bacteria enters the skin through an ulcer, cut or a scratch or an insect bite.

It can affect almost any part of the body, although most commonly the lower legs and in areas where the skin is damaged or inflamed.

It is very common in tropical environments such as the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area.

The results of the 12-month COAST study currently are being evaluated, with a final report expected by mid-year.

She’s Apples: Dr Allison Hempenstall and Dr Jack Sloss at rear with Boigu Island PHCC staff and their new iPads – from left – Mareko Gibuma, Daniella Dau, Daisy Harry, Waimed Pabai, Vera Auda and Beth Johnson.

Last updated: 26 February 2020