Image: Dr Nick Scott, Head of Burnet's Modelling and Biostatistics Group
Burnet Institute research into global adolescent health, menstrual health, and the control of hepatitis C will benefit from National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Emerging Leadership Grants valued at more than AUD$3 million.
Burnet’s Head of Modelling and Biostatistics, Dr Nick Scott will dedicate his grant to modelling to identify solutions to newly developing problems to hepatitis C (HCV) elimination in Australia and globally.
“Australia is at a critical juncture in its elimination program where ‘easy-to-reach’ individuals have already been treated, and the focus will need to shift to ensure that no one is left behind,” Dr Scott said.
“Modelling can provide vital evidence for how testing, linkage to care and treatment pathways can be targeted and optimised at the local level to meet national and global targets in the most cost-effective way.”
Dr Scott said hepatitis C elimination strategies are also currently being developed for many low- and middle-income countries.
“A critical window of opportunity exists for ensuring that country-level responses to HCV are evidence-based, cost-effective, and maximise the impact achieved with available resources,” he said.
“This modelling will identify how responses can be developed to achieve these goals under existing health system and funding constraints.”
Dr Julie Hennegan’s grant will support her work focused on improving evidence-based action for the menstrual health of adolescent girls in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“Each day, over 300 million females are menstruating and their menstrual health matters for gender equity, health and education,” Dr Hennegan, a Senior Research Fellow in Burnet’s Global Adolescent Health Group, said.
“Many adolescent girls don’t get enough information about their periods, they struggle to access menstrual absorbents and supportive spaces to care for their body, all while facing silence and shame surrounding menstruation.
“My research helps to better understand girls’ menstrual needs during adolescence, the impact this has on their lives, and aims to equip policy makers and support organisations with evidence to inform effective interventions.”
Burnet’s Co-Head of Adolescent Health, Associate Professor Peter Azzopardi will use his grant to define actions to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and adolescents in the Asia-Pacific region.
“I think there’s perhaps no better time than now to be investing in adolescent health,” Associate Professor Azzopardi said.
“We’ve all been impacted by the COVID pandemic, but I think that the impacts on young people have been particularly harsh, and there’s a real need to rethink the way that we can support young people’s health through accessible and responsive education and health systems.”
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