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30th March 2023 Pregnancy And Birth

Healthy newborn project extended

Healthy newborn project

A lifesaving antenatal care program for healthcare workers in remote and rural areas is being extended thanks to a $465,000 grant from The Hospital Research Foundation Group.

The pioneering ‘Healthy Newborn Project’ run by the University of South Australia aims to improve the training and delivery of ultrasound services in remote communities.

The Hospital Research Foundation Group has been proudly supporting the program since 2018 and is now extending its support with a fresh two-year grant.

Of particular focus in this phase will be the development of a new training program for Aboriginal healthcare workers, to enhance culturally-appropriate antenatal care to Aboriginal mums-to-be.

Medical sonographer Associate Professor Nayana Parange is leading the Healthy Newborn Project, and said the team hoped to develop a sustainable training program for clinicians working in Aboriginal communities.

Participants in the antenatal ultrasound training workshop“The Healthy Newborn Project aims to improve rural clinicians’ access to training and accreditation opportunities, which in turn will build workforce capacity and increase service access for mothers and babies in rural and remote areas,” A/Prof Parange said.

“We are so grateful to The Hospital Research Foundation Group for their ongoing support of this program to improve pregnancy care services for remote communities.”

Dr Sam Heard OAM, Medical Director for the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, said the program was extremely well received in his catchment area, after workshops were held in Alice Springs in 2022.

“The accolades for the ultrasound training course haven’t stopped since,” Dr Heard said.

“It was definitely the best experience anyone has had in this area.”

To date, 64 healthcare workers have been trained through program, which had been put on hold during the peak of COVID. The workers are then able to take their new knowledge back to their communities, many of which are without a critical ultrasound service.

Paul Flynn, CEO of The Hospital Research Foundation Group, said: “It is easy for people in metropolitan areas to take for granted the easy access to ultrasound services if they suspect something is wrong with their unborn baby.

“But in rural and remote communities, ultrasound access is limited, delayed or non-existent.

“We’re proud to be continuing our support for the Healthy Newborn Project to ensure remote healthcare workers have access to regular ultrasound training and can deliver high quality care to pregnant mums and bubs.”