There was a time when outbreaks of headlice among students in Northern Territory schools were reasonably under control.

That was back during a time when Community Health sisters made regular visits to schools. Outbreaks of headlice and threats of this scourge circulating amongst student heads were generally thwarted.

If headlice were becoming an issue, Department of Health sisters working within communities would come in, carry out an inspection, effect initial treatments, and advise parents about follow-up needs.

In the mid 1980s powers-that-be decided headlice did not pose a health issue but were rather a social problem. Principals were no longer able to call on Community Health staff to help deal with infestations. Rather, children were withdrawn from school and collected by parents who undertook remedial treatment at home.

That worked when parents carried out the treatment. However, parental management at home has proved to be far less effective than school management once vested in Community Health systems.

This is just one “change” that has most certainly not lead to any improvement. Instead, the withdrawal of the support service has added to the incidence of student absence from school. And we don’t need children out of school.


  1. This is something that our town deals with. We use to always have the health unit send nurses in to do routine head checks. Also since “selfies” have become a trend , young kids are coming in closer contact with other kids. Perfect for lice to spread.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.