• Scabies infection remains endemic in the NT with almost 70% of Aboriginal children in some remote areas infected within their first year of life. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
A campaign is using tattoos in its effort to eliminate the spread of a potentially deadly skin infection, scabies, which can impact on the life expectancy of first Australians.
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NITV News
28 Aug 2015 - 2:53 PM  UPDATED 28 Aug 2015 - 3:38 PM

The #InkForGood campaign aims to raise funds to put an end to scabies, a preventable disease, through using innovative yet culturally respectful programs built with community input.

#InkForGood is part of not-for-profit organisation One Disease, the brainchild of Dr Sam Prince who has set his sights on eradicating preventable infections in remote communities. 

"Really it's an extension of my own story, my parents came from the developing world, I grew up here in Australia, became a doctor, started my own business," Dr Prince said. "But then tried to give back to the developing world from where my parents came from, and then realised that there was a lot to be in done here in Australia first."

The campaign asks supporters to donate to its cause in exchange for a temporary or permanent tattoo in its belief that the only thing that should get under the skin of any Australian is a tattoo.

An image from One Disease's #InkforGood campaign (Photo/One Disease)

The campaign is the product of thorough consultation.

"It was really a passion for the elimination of scabies that came from the elders of the communities that we first worked with," he said.

"It was really a passion for the elimination of scabies that came from the elders of the communities that we first worked with"

"The tattoo therefore brings awareness to this issue as well as the symbol of partnership which is displayed on your body which shows support for the work that we're doing on the ground and Indigenous health," he said.

According to One Disease research, one in three Indigenous children suffer from scabies, which can lead to heart and kidney failure and ultimately premature death.

Seven in 10 will suffer from scabies at least once before they are one years old.

According to 2010-2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, the life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men is about 11 years lower than non-Indigenous males. Life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females is nearly 10 years lower than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

An image from the #InkforGood campaign to eradicate scabies (Photo/One Disease)

The campaign has gained traction in the last few months thanks to some of its celebrity ambassadors, including supermodel Samantha Harris who chose to support the InkForGood campaign in her recent stint on Seven Network's Dancing with the Stars.

"If I can do one small thing by getting a permanent tattoo to help raise awareness and to raise vital funds for One Disease to be able to empower our communities, to tackle these health issues, then I'll do it"

Karla Grant from NITV's Living Black is also a dedicated ambassador who recently got a permanent tattoo to show her commitment to the cause.

"The thing with One Disease," Ms Grant said. "How they're trying to eliminate one disease at a time in remote Aboriginal communities, if I can do one small thing by getting a permanent tattoo to help raise awareness and to raise vital funds for One Disease to be able to empower our communities, to tackle these health issues, then I'll do it."