MooGoo’s Prevent RHD Project: A Partnership for Healthy Skin in Indigenous Communities

Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) persists as a significant health concern, particularly among Indigenous populations, despite being entirely preventable. Shocking statistics reveal that nine out of ten diagnosed cases occur within Indigenous communities, predominantly affecting individuals between the ages of 5 and 14 years. The disease often stems from untreated skin sores, leading to severe complications like heart failure or stroke, and sometimes necessitating life-threatening open-heart surgery. MooGoo’s Prevent RHD Project: A Partnership for Healthy Skin in Indigenous Communities

However, there is hope on the horizon. MooGoo, an Australian natural skincare brand, has launched the Prevent RHD Project in collaboration with Yarrabah, a community near Cairns, to combat RHD by promoting skin hygiene and preventing the onset of this debilitating condition.

Yarrabah, with over 4,000 residents living in 400 cramped residences lacking adequate water and sanitation, has reported at least 165 cases of RHD. In response, MooGoo’s initiatives focus on education and practical support to improve skin hygiene within the community.

The cornerstone of MooGoo’s efforts is the Yarrabah Soap Program, which emphasizes handwashing and skincare education to reduce exposure to Streptococcus A bacteria, a key contributor to RHD. To date, over 3,000 liters of Milk Wash have been donated to refill stations, supporting the ongoing efforts of Public Health Coordinator Renee Grosso, who manages 20 refill sites.

The Healthy Housing Pilot Program (HHPP) further contributes to promoting skin health by supplying various products to nearly 100 households and refill stations. MooGoo’s partnership also extends to educational initiatives such as the Love the Skin You’re In program, which offers Healthy Living Practice lessons for children, reinforcing the importance of proper hygiene practices.

Suzanne Andrews, CEO of Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services, welcomed the partnership, emphasizing the importance of accessible sanitizing soaps in preventing skin sores. “Because the Milk Wash is made with gentle, natural cleansers, it won’t irritate the skin, so it’s good for skin sores,” Ms. Andrews explained.

The Healthy Skin Heroes initiative engages health workers in conducting weekly washing sessions with dolls at Yarrabah State School, teaching children essential hygiene practices. Since its inception, MooGoo has contributed 1,800 bottles of Milk Wash, with additional donations from generous customers totaling $1,990.

Melody Livingstone, CEO of MooGoo, expressed determination to address the situation, stating, “We’re hoping that through this program, we see a reduction in rheumatic heart disease cases in these communities and that these statistics can be used to put in place a more permanent solution.”

In collaboration with the local health service, refill stations for Milk Wash are strategically located in community hubs, schools, and sports clubs throughout the area. These efforts represent a crucial step towards promoting skin health and preventing the devastating effects of RHD in Indigenous communities, reflecting MooGoo’s commitment to making a tangible difference in people’s lives.

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