Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health

Women, children and adolescents continue to suffer significant illness from preventable causes, particularly in resource-poor countries in our region.

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.

Contact Details

Professor Caroline Homer AO

Burnet Executive Team; Co-Program Director, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health; Working Group Head



  • A GIFT (Genital Inflammation Test) for HIV Prevention

  • A novel gel for targeting vaginal inflammation to prevent HIV transmission

  • A profile of adolescent health in Myanmar

  • Accelerating access to postnatal care and chlorhexidine in PNG

  • Accelerating healthy agriculture and nutrition

  • Accelerating Immunisation and Health System Strengthening (AIHSS)

  • Burnet Microbiome Initiative

  • Collaborative Community Checklists for Immunisation (CCCI)

  • COVID-19 Journey Project

  • Developing vaccines against malaria

  • Development of a point-of-care test for neonatal sepsis

  • Development of hydrogel based intravaginal drug delivery device

  • Discovering the mechanisms and targets of immunity against malaria

  • Engaging private sector for adolescent health service delivery in Asia and Pacific

  • Evaluating a highly sensitive rapid malaria diagnostic in PNG

  • Evaluating the WHO Labour Care Guide in clinical settings

  • Gender Counts

  • Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

  • HMHB - Health Services for Postnatal and Infancy Care

  • HMHB: Quality of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Newborn Health Services Study

  • HMHB: The impact of nutrition, malaria and STIs on pregnant women and infants

  • Immunity to malaria and infectious diseases during pregnancy

  • Improved point-of-care test to eliminate congenital syphilis

  • IMSA: Improving SRH knowledge among young people in Magwey, Myanmar

  • Inequalities in sexual and reproductive health in Asia and the Pacific

  • Integrated solutions for healthy birth, growth, and development in Lao PDR

  • New approaches to the treatment of lupus

  • Non-communicable diseases in adolescents in Indonesia

  • Predicting quality and potency of monoclonal and natural antibodies

  • Rapid review of maternal health recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Sexual and reproductive health in Asia and the Pacific

  • Stakeholder experiences of father engagement interventions in low- and middle-income countries

  • The Mbereko + Men Model: Rural Zimbabwe

  • Vaccines against Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum malaria

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