close Icon

Maternal, Newborn + Child Health

Many women and children continue to suffer preventable illnesses, especially in resource-poor countries in our region, such as Papua New Guinea (PNG). More than 5000 newborns die each year in PNG, yet basic interventions could have prevented two-thirds of these deaths. By providing quality health information and services, Burnet aims to improve the health of women and children worldwide.

Our main objectives are to:

  • contribute to reducing maternal and newborn mortality, and prevention of other adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • contribute to improving sexual and reproductive health
  • address preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in children, and optimise growth and development
  • work towards the advancement of gender equality, and prevention of gender-based violence
  • ensure ongoing delivery of quality health services for women and children in crisis situations
  • support increasing the capacity of health professionals, researchers, policymakers and the general community in maternal and child health through education and training in Australia and globally.

We work with many communities to better understand and address the underlying factors that prevent access to vital healthcare services such as family planning, perinatal and postpartum care, newborn care, vaccinations, management of childhood illnesses and nutrition.

Our work focuses on:

  • leading and supporting high-quality primary research and knowledge synthesis, particularly in limited-resource settings
  • providing technical advice through collaborative partnerships with institutions, United Nations (UN) agencies and governments in the Asia-Pacific region
  • offering research supervision and training opportunities
  • recognising that protecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of individuals empowers all members of a community.

Burnet is working towards better access to health care for mothers and their children by conducting innovative medical and public health research, strengthening service delivery systems and empowering communities.


pregnant women in Fiji will be recruited into a prospective clinical validation study to assess the clinical utility of a novel point-of-care test developed by Burnet researchers for confirmation of active syphilis.


boxes of umbilical cord chlorhexidine (Umbipro) purchased and supplied to the East New Britain Province of PNG by our team working in conjunction with the manufacturer GSK.


of pregnant women in a Burnet-led study in Papua New Guinea (PNG) were found to have had at least one curable STI at the time of their first antenatal visit for pregnancy care. The research team also found that the current recommended clinical management, based on the presence or absence of specific symptoms, is allowing most infections to go undetected and untreated with serious consequences.

4.3 million

is the number of lives that could be saved per year by 2035 if the current level of professional midwife healthcare was scaled up, according to a modelling study supported by Burnet..

Working Groups

Burnet is an Australian-based medical research and public health institute and international non-government organisation that is working towards a more equitable world through better health.