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.

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.


Addressing the unmet health needs of adolescent health globally, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health needs and rights.

Young people are central to ensuring health equity for all, but they experience a large and preventable burden of poor health. Despite sexual and reproductive health and rights being a traditional focus of adolescent programming, there remains much to be done. There is also a need to address issues of emerging importance – particularly poor mental health, non-communicable disease and injury.


We are developing, testing and implementing evidence-based tools and interventions to:

  • Better understand the health needs of adolescents - and how to address these in challenging settings.
  • Improve the quality of data for young people, through developing novel methods for data collection and sampling to assess key areas of need.
  • Define better indicators and data – at global and country level - to inform responsive policy and programming and ensure accountability.
  • Strengthen primary health care for adolescents by making health services more accessible and building the capabilities and competencies of health care providers.
  • Reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and their health impact.
  • Improve the nutrition of adolescent girls.

Hear more about Burnet’s Maternal & Child Health work in Episode 6 of our How Science Matters Podcast.

Contact Details

Professor Caroline Homer AO

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


[email protected]


  • 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)

  • Antenatal and postnatal care remote contacts guidance

  • Burnet Microbiome Initiative

  • Cost-effectiveness evidence for maternal and perinatal health interventions

  • Cost-effectiveness of antenatal corticosteroids for women at risk of imminent preterm birth in the early preterm period in low resource countries

  • 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

  • EVE-M

  • Experiences of receiving or providing maternity care during CoVID-19 pandemic: The CovMat Study

  • 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

  • Implementing Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services in East Asia and the Pacific Region

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

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

  • Integrated Multi-Sectoral Approach (IMSA) To Improve The Sexual And Reproductive Health Of Adolescents In Magway, Myanmar

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

  • Living guidelines in maternal and perinatal health

  • Mapping of COVID-19-related pregnancy and perinatal research in Australia

  • Midwifery Faculty Development Program

  • National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce

  • New approaches to the treatment of lupus

  • New Target Product Profiles for pre-eclampsia prevention and treatment

  • Non-communicable diseases in adolescents in Indonesia

  • Novel PoC Testing for Diagnosis of Active Syphilis in Pregnant Women and Infants in Fiji

  • Predicting quality and potency of monoclonal and natural antibodies

  • Quantifying early marriage and union in Southeast Asia

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

  • Resilient Adolescents and Integrated Life Skills (RAIL) project, Dawei, Myanmar

  • Review of Midwifery Curricula Timor-Leste

  • SCOOP: Strengthening COVID-19 Communication in Pregnancy

  • Sexual and reproductive health in Asia and the Pacific

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

  • Strengthen Emergency Obstetric Newborn Care (EmONC) training through a Master Train-the-Trainer Program

  • The Mbereko + Men Model: Rural Zimbabwe

  • Tools for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (Kenya, Myanmar and Senegal)

  • Transformative Agenda for Women, Adolescents and Youth in the Pacific: Family Life Education

  • Transformative Agenda for Women, Adolescents and Youth in the Pacific: Strengthening Health Management Information Systems

  • Transformative Agenda for Women, Adolescents and Youth in the Pacific: Strengthening Midwifery Education

  • Understanding Pathways to Adolescent Pregnancy in Southeast Asia

  • Vaccines against Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum malaria

Latest News

    12 November, 2021

    The Story of Joylene Vanahe

    The tragic story of losing a young mum and her baby in PNG, and how the Safe Delivery App may have saved their lives. As told by Joylene Vanahe, Community Health Worker.

    25 October, 2021

    Professor Caroline Homer appointed NHMRC Council Chair

    Burnet Institute’s Professor Caroline Homer AO has been appointed Chair of the Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council.