Health conference in Katherine this week

Katherine Hospital head physician Dr Simon Quilty.

Katherine Hospital head physician Dr Simon Quilty.

A health teaching workshop will be held in Katherine on Tuesday and Wednesday to explore health problems like diabetes and scabies. 

The HOT NORTH workshop led by Menzies School of Health Research will include talks from local health professionals and researchers. 

It will cover regionally important health concerns such as antimicrobial resistance, diabetes in pregnancy and youth, rheumatic heart disease, and scabies and skin health.

The event will bring about 100 health professionals together from local health services, such as Katherine Hospital, Wurli-Wurlinjang, Katherine West and Sunrise Health Services, and researchers from as far away as Melbourne and Perth.

 As one of the top Aboriginal health providers in the country, Katherine Hospital plays an important role in helping to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes.

“More and more young people are developing type 2 diabetes. We are seeing 15, 14, 13-year-olds developing type 2 diabetes and then they've got kidney impairment by the time they're 25 or 26 and they are on dialysis in their early to mid-30s,” Katherine Hospital head physician Dr Simon Quilty said.

In addition, the Katherine region has the highest rates of homelessness and the highest mortality rate of any region in Australia.”

The teaching workshop will give Katherine health professionals learning experiences that develop and transform health practices across northern Australia.

“By developing a community of medical researchers and clinicians, HOT NORTH is connecting a wide range of experts to address the current and future challenges facing the tropical north,” HOT NORTH director Professor Bart Currie said. 

“We felt it was important to collaborate with our colleagues in Katherine because many of the health problems they are seeing in their Indigenous populations are the same problems affecting Indigenous people across the north of Australia and beyond.

“Katherine Hospital has made some impressive improvements in how they care for Indigenous people and that’s something that we as researchers and health professionals can learn and benefit from,” he said. 

Katherine Hospital and the health clinics servicing Katherine have made significant progress over the past number of years. It now ranks as one the top hospitals in Australia for its relationship with its Indigenous patients.

“It’s the transfer of research and practical experience into better service delivery that will help us close the gap across the north and protect the north from tropical and emerging diseases,” Prof Currie said.