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Kathryn Powley
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Three of Australia’s child health leaders have joined forces to tackle global child health: The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne have launched a new initiative, Melbourne Children’s Global Health.

Melbourne Children’s Global Health co-chair Andrew Steer said the creation of Melbourne Children’s Global Health would help the three institutes secure research funding, strengthen their standing at international forums, and enable the researchers to better share information and resources.

Murdoch Children's Research Institute Director Kathryn North said under the banner of Melbourne Children’s Global Health, the three institutes would work with 45 low-resource countries to improve child and adolescent health equity.

“For example, we hope to bring our new rotavirus vaccine to millions of Indonesian children,” Professor North said.

“Melbourne Children’s Global Health will work with Indonesian researchers and clinicians to ensure that this new vaccine is used to best effect,” she said.

University of Melbourne Medical School Head John Prins said many of the Melbourne Children’s Global Health projects focused on supporting health workers in developing countries to improve patient care.

“Our projects are collaborative,” Professor Prins said.

“For example, Melbourne paediatricians work alongside paediatricians in countries in Asia Pacific and Africa designing better training programs for new doctors,” he said.

Royal Children’s Hospital board chair Rob Knowles said the three institutions were already having a major impact in the Asia Pacific region.

“This new initiative allows us to leverage the collaboration and innovation we see across the Melbourne Children’s partnership and deliver improved outcomes for children across the globe,” Mr Knowles said.

Professor Steer said he also hoped the new Melbourne Children’s Global Health would lead to: 

  • Faster development of vaccines and treatments for conditions including rotavirus, pneumonia, meningitis, scabies, trachoma, stomach cancer, rheumatic heart disease
  • Trials of new interventions to tackle the growing burden of adolescent mental health issues
  • More effective ways to detect and manage drug-resistant tuberculosis
  • Helping save lives by improving medical training and facilities in hospitals around the world.