Evaluation of the Child Health Check Initiative and the Expanding Health Service Delivery Initiative - Final Report

6.1 Effectiveness

Evaluation of the Child Health Check Initiative and the Expanding Health Service Delivery Initiative - Final Report

Page last updated: 17 April 2012

The CHCI has delivered health services and treatment to Aboriginal people living in remote communities in the NT. While some government officials felt that the CHCI had been effective in reaching a population who had not previously been accessing PHC, the evaluation findings do not support this view. There is evidence that the people who received child health checks were already accessing the health system through existing health screening programs available in the NT, suggesting that the CHCI was not an effective mechanism for reaching the unscreened population.

Data on population health improvements is currently limited and conflicting. While a significant amount of treatment was provided during and after the CHCI, it is too early to measure whether the initiative has been effective in changing the health status of Aboriginal children who received a child health check and/or follow-up service and whether there has been any significant change.

Inefficient processes are likely to limit the effectiveness of the CHCI. More efficient processes for arranging and delivering hearing/ENT and dental follow-up services, which emerged during the CHCI, have the potential to improve the effectiveness of these services, provided they are developed within the context of a comprehensive PHC approach. There remains a significant need for effective health service delivery to remote Aboriginal communities.

It is too early to assess whether the EHSDI has improved the health of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NT. The considerable increase in funding and the health workforce (FTE staff) has enabled the provision of additional health services with a preventative focus as well as a comprehensive upgrade of remote health infrastructure. This suggests that, over time and with continued investment, the EHSDI has considerable potential to deliver health improvements.