News

Turning point for HMHB

Angus Morgan

08 June, 2017

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Burnet’s Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB) project to provide life-saving heath care for women and children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has achieved an important milestone with the recruitment of its 700th participant.

The figure marks the completion of the recruitment phase, with attention now to switch to following up with the participants, data analysis and reporting the findings.

“It’s a significant figure because the team has been recruiting since 2015, and it represents the number of women we need to have a high quality study,” Dr Liz Peach, HMHB Project Manager, said.

“Seven hundred was always the target to get enough data to be able to accurately report the results, and it represents a real turning point where we’re now actually about to see some of the results from all of this data collection.

“When we actually have some of the results that we can discuss with other researchers and other partners in-country, there’s going to be a lot of ideas for why we are seeing these results and what should be done about it.”

Based in Kokopo, East New Britain, HMHB is a five-year collaborative research project, which aims to define the major causes of poor maternal, newborn and child health, and identify effective interventions and strategies to improve maternal and neonatal health outcomes in PNG, where the rate of maternal mortality is 80 times Australia’s.

Dr Peach said the next step is to follow up the 550 mothers who have already delivered, and the 150 who are still expecting, with post-natal assessments at one month, six months and 12 months.

“It will be a challenge to follow up on all those new mothers and babies initially and try to see them within four days of delivering, because that’s when we can get the best quality data around important factors like the birth weight of the child,” she said.

“Another important contact point after the initial recruitment is the delivery in one month data, which we should have by the end of this year.

“Then we’ll be able to provide some meaningful data around infant birth weight and other health related factors in the post-natal period around the first month of the child’s life.”

Dr Peach said the HMHB team is expecting to present its first data to stakeholders and a wider research and public health audience at the Papua New Guinea Medical Symposium in the first week of September.

“Hopefully we’ll have some ideas for interventions and intervention studies that we can roll out in the short term,” Dr Peach said. “That’s going to be an exciting phase coming up, possibly even in 2018.

“As we start to get concrete findings, we’ll hopefully be able to start thinking about how we address the problems that we find.”

Find out more about Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies here.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Doctor Elizabeth Peach

Research Project Manager, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies

Email

liz.peach@burnet.edu.au

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