Three of Australia's child health leaders have joined forces to tackle global child health – the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, The Royal Children's Hospital and the University of Melbourne have launched a new initiative, Melbourne Children's Global Health.

Co-Chair of Melbourne Children's Global Health, Professor Andrew Steer, said the creation of Melbourne Children's Global Health will help the three institutes secure research funding, strengthen their standing at international forums, and enable the researchers to better share information and resources

MCRI Director Professor Kathryn North said under the banner of Melbourne Children's Global Health, the three institutes will work with 45 low-resource countries to improve child and adolescent health equity.

"For example, we hope to bring our new rotavirus vaccine to millions of Indonesian children," Professor North said. "Melbourne Children's Global Health will work with Indonesian researchers and clinicians to ensure that this new vaccine is used to best effect."

Head of Melbourne University's Medical School, Professor John Prins, said many of the Melbourne Children's Global Health projects focus on supporting health workers in developing countries to improve patient care.

"Our projects are collaborative," Professor Prins said. "For example, Melbourne paediatricians work alongside paediatricians in countries in Asia Pacific and Africa designing better training programs for new doctors."

Chair of the Board of The Royal Children's Hospital, the Hon Rob Knowles AO, said the three institutions were already having a major impact in the Asia Pacific region.

"This new initiative allows us to leverage the collaboration and innovation we see across the Melbourne Children's partnership and deliver improved outcomes for children across the globe," he said

Professor Steer said he also hoped the new Melbourne Children's Global Health would ultimately lead to: 

  • faster development of vaccines and treatments for conditions including rotavirus, pneumonia, meningitis, scabies, trachoma, stomach cancer, rheumatic heart disease
  • trials of new interventions to tackle the growing burden of adolescent mental health issues
  • more effective ways to detect and manage drug-resistant tuberculosis
  • helping save lives by improving medical training and facilities in hospitals around the world.

Ms Kathryn Snow, University of Melbourne global health researcher; Prof Kathryn North, MCRI Director; Dr Jarir At Thobari, researcher with Gadjah Mada University (Yogyakarta), and Dr Monica Brook, an IUC paediatric registrar at the Royal Children's Hospital and graduate of the Fiji School of Medicine.