Australia is the only developed country in the world where children are suffering from trachoma, an endemic bacterial eye infection.
This is one of the key discussion points to be raised by Associate Professor Anne Roiko at the World Science Festival next week, as part of its Water Talks: The Dirt on water and disease.
Not unlike the common ‘pink-eye’ or conjunctivitis, repeated reinfection of trachoma, combined with the body’s immune reaction, often has devastating consequences.
In some of Australia’s remote indigenous populations, up to one in 20 children can be affected by the condition, which is preventable with adequate sanitation and clean water.
“Everyone in the world should ave access to clean, safe water and adequate sanitation but unfortunately this is not the case for all Australians,” Associate Professor Roiko from Griffith’s Menzies Health Institute Queensland said.
“This country has not yet taken up and engaged with the 17 sustainable development goals as laid down by the United Nations and which encompass some of our fundamental human rights.
“Many assume that issues such as a lack of clean water only applies to undeveloped countries, but children are getting sick from unsafe water today in remote indigenous communities and this is not acceptable.”
An expert in environmental health, Associate Professor Roiko will also talk at the event, about the positive aspects of water and the health benefits that it can bestow.