Capturing Household Structure and Mobility within and between Remote Aboriginal Communities in Northern Australia Using Longitudinal Data: A Pilot Study

Jessie J. Goldsmith, Patricia T. Campbell, Juan Pablo Villanueva-Cabezas, Rebecca H. Chisholm, Melita McKinnon, George G. Gurruwiwi, Roslyn G. Dhurrkay, Alfred M. Dockery, Nicholas Geard, Steven Y.C. Tong, Jodie McVernon, Katherine B. Gibney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Cultural practices and development level can influence a population’s household structures and mixing patterns. Within some populations, households can be organized across multiple dwellings. This likely affects the spread of infectious disease through these communities; however, current demographic data collection tools do not record these data. Methods: Between June and October 2018, the Contact And Mobility Patterns in remote Aboriginal Australian communities (CAMP-remote) pilot study recruited Aboriginal mothers with infants in a remote northern Australian community to complete a monthly iPad-based contact survey. Results: Thirteen mother–infant pairs (participants) completed 69 study visits between recruitment and the end of May 2019. Participants reported they and their other children slept in 28 dwellings during the study. The median dwelling occupancy, defined as people sleeping in the same dwelling on the previous night, was ten (range: 3.5–25). Participants who completed at least three responses (n = 8) slept in a median of three dwellings (range: 2–9). Each month, a median of 28% (range: 0–63%) of the participants travelled out of the community. Including these data in disease transmission models amplified estimates of infectious disease spread in the study community, compared to models parameterized using census data. Conclusions: The lack of data on mixing patterns in populations where households can be organized across dwellings may impact the accuracy of infectious disease models for these communities and the efficacy of public health actions they inform.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number12002
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Volume19
    Issue number19
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

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