Top End doc wins NT Australian of the Year

Dr Wendy Page, a global expert in Aboriginal health, has been named 2021 NT Australian of the Year.

Dr Page has academic status with Flinders University (Flinders NT) and has worked for many decades on eradicating the parasite and disease strongyloidiasis, which is endemic in northern Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Found in the tropical and semi-tropical areas of the world, the nematode infects humans and causes escalating symptoms including diarrhoea, coughing, rash and death if not treated. It infects more people globally than malaria.

Dr Page was instrumental in reducing the prevalence of strongyloidiasis in local East Arnhem Land communities from 60 per cent to below 10 per cent. Her published papers on the Strongyloides worm have awarded her global status as an expert and have informed clinical practice.

She was also recognised for her dedication to supporting and mentoring young doctors, having taken on positions as lead supervisor in Nhulunbuy and examiner in Darwin to help registrars become qualified GPs.

Alumnus Dr Sanjay Joseph (MD’17), who studied at Flinders in the Northern Territory, was a finalist for NT Young Australian of the Year. The medical practitioner and co-founder of Healthy Start Darwin was also Northern Territory Junior Doctor of the Year and the Australian Junior Doctor of Year in 2019.

Surgeon Dr Ollalpallil Jacob, a partner of Flinders University’s Rural Clinical School, was a finalist for NT Senior Australian of the Year.

The NT Australian of the Year Awards were announced on 4 November 2020. Recipients join other state winners as finalists in the annual Australian of the Year Awards, to be announced on 25 January next year.

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