Achieving greater equity in maternal and child health particularly in resource-poor and high-risk communities in our region, requires an urgent need to develop and promote new strategies, tools and policies.
Women and children continue to die and suffer significant illness from preventable causes. Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies is a collaborative research program aimed at providing life-saving health care for women and children in Papua New Guinea, where the rate of maternal and child death is staggeringly high. Tragically, more than 5000 babies die in their first year of life.
Burnet is also working with many communities to better understand and address the underlying factors that prevent access to crucial health care services such as family planning, postnatal and newborn care, vaccinations, management of childhood illnesses and nutrition.
Adolescent health is of critical importance to maternal and child health. Almost 25 million girls become pregnant every year, the majority in low to middle income countries. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are among the leading cause of death of adolescent girls, and babies born to adolescent mothers have higher rates of stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight, and neonatal mortality.
Adolescents are already a cross-cutting priority for the Institute, and there is also important work in the area of young people’s health led by the Behaviour and Health Risks Program.
Through the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health program Burnet is committing to making a major contribution to:
- Improving reproductive health, with a focus on pre-conception health
- Reducing maternal and newborn mortality, and prevention of other adverse pregnancy outcomes
- Reducing preventable causes of morbidity and mortality of children, and optimising growth and development
- Advancement of gender equality, and prevention of gender-based violence
- Increasing the capacity of health professionals, researchers, policy makers and the general community in maternal and child health, through education and training in Australia and globally.