MooGoo milk wash distributed to the community in Yarrabah. Photo credit: Take Heart: Deadly Heart
7 February, 2023

Skin care brand helps combat RHD in Yarrabah

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a disease more often seen in developing nations, however Australia has some of the highest rates in the world. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 15 times more likely to be diagnosed with it than non-Indigenous people in Australia.

Yarrabah, an Aboriginal community of 4,000 people, 55 kilometres of Cairns, has some of the highest rates of RHD in the world.

More than 129 people within the Yarrabah community are known to suffer from RHD due to cramped living conditions and limited access to safe water and sanitary conditions.

The community in Yarrabah are banding together with Australian skin care brand MooGoo to fight the preventable disease in the community.

MooGoo have donated a year’s worth of body wash for every household in Yarrabah.

Child health team leader of Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation, Maddy Dodd said this is a start of how RHD can be prevented in community.

“We know that skin sores are common in Yarrabah,” she said.

“If we can prevent the infection from occurring at the beginning, and prevent the skin sores, we can help reduce the devastating effects of rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in our communities.”

Refill ‘milk wash stations’ have also been placed within community hubs, schools and clubs in the area to create a more accessible solution for residents.

Customers shopping on the MooGoo website can ensure the longevity of this program by donating $5 to go towards the program.

Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Yarrabah executive officer Suzanne Andrews said she hopes this will be the beginning of a permanent solution.

“This is all about making sure that we have good sanitising soaps and it’s awesome we’ve got special sites that we can start to dispense to the mob in Yarrabah to help prevent skin sores,” the Jaru, Punaba and Bunal Bardi woman said.

“Because the milk wash is made with gentle, natural cleansers it won’t irritate the skin, so it’s good for skin sores.”

MooGoo refill sites have been placed all over Yarrabah including at the Yarrabah bakery, library, housing department, childcare, kindergarten, primary and high school, St Albands Church, ranger station and more.

View article from the National Indigenous Times here.