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August news from the Alliance: What's new this month?

Global Fund boost for detection of infectious diseases in Indo-Pacific

A consortium of Australia’s leading infectious disease research centres - the Doherty, Kirby and Burnet Institutes – together with international collaborators, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics - will strengthen laboratory capacity for testing and diagnosis of COVID-19, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis in our region.

The $5,204,667 in funding for this collaboration is part of Australia’s $242 million commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The focus of this work was developed in partnership between Australia and the Global Fund, and will maximise the impact of related Global Fund investments.

Rising cases of COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea have highlighted regional health security concerns when infectious diseases are not contained in our neighbouring countries.

“The grant is designed to improve impact of Global Fund’s work in our region through lab strengthening of countries to carry out the critical task of testing and diagnosis,” says Australia’s Ambassador for Regional Health Security, Dr Stephanie Williams.

“It will also continue to strengthen technical partnerships between experts in Australia’s world-class institutions and their regional counterparts.”

Read the full release.

New Partnership launched to accelerate elimination of relapsing P. vivax malaria that poses a risk to an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide

The new Partnership for Vivax Elimination (PAVE), launched on 14 July, will support countries in the elimination of P. vivax – a complex and persistent type of malaria that poses a risk to more than one-third of the world’s population.

As part of PAVE, Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), PATH, Menzies School of Health Research, and Burnet Institute will work with in-country partners to conduct feasibility studies looking at the best way to use different P. vivax relapse treatments and diagnostics at different levels of the healthcare system in endemic countries including Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Thailand.

PAVE is led by MMV and PATH and combines a new investment of USD 25 million from Unitaid with work under existing grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and MMV core funding.  Consolidating these projects under PAVE will ensure coordination of efforts and clear communications with partners around the world. Recognizing that even more work is needed, PAVE will provide a vehicle for advocacy to bring further attention and resources to the challenge of eliminating P. vivax malaria.

Read more.

Global Initiative on Strengthening Health Systems for Rehabilitation: Nossal Institute

The Nossal Institute and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are leading a consortium to strengthen rehabilitation services for millions of people in low- and middle-income countries. The consortium are implementing a program, Learning, Acting and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS), with a USD $39.5 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Leahy War Victims Fund. Read more
 

How science matters: A new podcast from the Burnet Institute 

In these uncertain times, this special 8-part series shares engaging stories from some of Australia's visionary scientific thinkers to help make sense of a mutating virus and to give us hope. You’ll also find out what keeps them awake at night as they grapple with a pandemic – and how science is playing a leading role in shaping our response.

Co-hosted by former ABC Radio journalist Tracy Parish and Burnet Institute Director and CEO (and Alliance Chair!) Professor Brendan Crabb AC, a microbiologist, malaria researcher and one of the best minds in infectious diseases and global health today. 

Launching 10 August. Subscribe on Spotify or Apple Podcast to not miss a thing! 

Listen to the trailer.

Active breaks help children think better and manage their behaviour: Deakin University

In a world first finding, researchers at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin have discovered that short active breaks in the classroom improve children's brain functioning and impulse control.
 
The research team, led by Dr Emiliano Mazzoli, set out to see if physically active breaks of around five minutes duration could improve children’s executive function (brain activity) as well as their impulse control. They recruited children in grades one and two (6 - 8 years old) at three Melbourne primary schools and teachers at two of those schools were trained to deliver either simple or complex active breaks to their class over a six-week period. The third school continued with usual classes and no active breaks. 
 
The findings show that the children who had active breaks had better impulse control than children who had no active breaks. They also had improved focus, sat less (around 14 minutes less) and moved more (four more minutes of stepping) during classroom hours than the children who didn’t have breaks. Brain activity data showed that children doing the more complex active breaks used less brain power to complete the same tasks as children in usual class lessons, suggesting their cognitive efficiency improved.

Applications open for the Tsuha Global Fellows Program: University of Western Australia

The Tsuha Global Fellows Program at The University of Western Australia (UWA), Perth, seeks to support the next generation of leaders from low- and middle-income countries (as defined by the World Bank). The fully-supported program will provide successful applicants with targeted educational, mentorship and networking opportunities to implement projects in their home country related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Program seeks to leverage Fellows’ existing contextual knowledge and professional experience with the teaching of targeted research and leadership skills, alongside active mentoring to guide Fellows towards designing and implementing their projects and ultimately improving the lives of people in their home countries.

Applications close: 1 September 2021. More information

New financing agreement boost for malaria vaccine: Gavi

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and MedAccess announced on Wednesday an innovative financing agreement to guarantee continued production of the antigen for the RTS,S/AS01e malaria vaccine in advance of key decisions regarding its roll-out.

The RTS,S/AS01e vaccine – the first malaria vaccine to be proven safe and effective in a large Phase 3 clinical trial – is currently being piloted in routine immunisation programmes in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi, through the Malaria Vaccine Implementation Programme (MVIP). The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to decide later this year whether to recommend the vaccine for broader use based on data emerging from the MVIP. 

“Malaria kills over a quarter of a million children every year; this vaccine has the potential to have a real impact on this toll,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “That’s why it is vital that we keep production lines running while waiting for important decisions around its use in African populations. This is innovative financing at its best: tackling risk and uncertainty to ensure access to what could be an important additional tool in the battle against malaria." Read more.

Australia assembles global preventative cancer leaders to improve cervical screening in India: VCS Foundation

VCS Foundation, an NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Cervical Cancer Control (C4) partner, will receive $1.33 million in funding through the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) for research to implement cervical cancer screening in hard-to-reach and vulnerable Indian communities.

In the world’s second most populous nation, the burden of cervical cancer is high, at one-fifth of the total global burden, with death rates expected to be 60,000 people every year.

VCS Foundation’s Medical Director Associate Professor Julia Brotherton (left) said, “In a country as complex and large as India we know there are significant challenges in scaling up preventive health services, particularly in rural and remote areas serving vulnerable Indian women. Cervical cancer is preventable and we hope this work will help identify and overcome some of the key challenges in reaching women to screen, as well as support their follow up when treatment is needed.” Read the full announcement.

Issues in Global Health: A series of discussions from the Nossal Institute

Professor Barbara McPake, Director, Nossal Institute for Global Health, has penned a series on issues related to global health. Recent reflections include:

Sign up to Issues in Global Health to receive regular thought pieces on current issues in Global Health delivered straight to your inbox.

Does diet affect the biggest killers of men and women differently?

new study on diet and leading causes of death finds that those on a low carbohydrate, low fat and high protein diet had a lower risk of early death, but a lower risk of cardiovascular disease only in men.

For dementia the findings were less clear, but women who ate moderate amounts of sugar and high levels of fibre were at lower risk of developing the disease.

Lead author Briar McKenzie from The George Institute for Global health said there was an established link between diet and cardiovascular disease (CVD), the relationship between diet and dementia was less well known:  “There is no cure for dementia and not  many treatment options, so it’s important to focus on prevention and identify things people can do to reduce their risk of developing the disease,” she said.

Join VCS Foundation at the premiere screening of 'Conquering Cancer'

Conquering Cancer is a definitive film with a soaring ambition: to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer for every woman and girl. It will show you what needs to be done to achieve this incredible feat and save the lives of an estimated 62 million women. 

You can join VCS Foundation for the premiere screening at Cinema Nova in Melbourne on 26 August, as we all strive for global elimination of cervical cancer and listen to the stories of women who have faced this disease.

Watch the trailer
Book tickets 

 

The George Institute marks first ever World Drowning Prevention Day

Drowning is a significant issue globally, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths and is among the top 10 leading causes of death for 5-14 year olds. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 236,000 drowning deaths worldwide each year, of which more than half occur in South-East Asia and the Western Pacific Region.

To mark the inaugural UN designated World Drowning Prevention Day on 25th July 2021, The George Institute reflected on its work in this area as a WHO Collaborating Centre on Injury Prevention and Trauma Care, and took part in a number of events.

If you missed it, catch up on the webinar where researcher Medhavi Gupta highlighted the challenges, progress, and next steps for effective drowning prevention in low- and middle-income countries (LMICS), with particular emphasis on findings from her PhD research in Bangladesh and India. 

Read more about the George Institute's work in drowning prevention, and its Key actions to accelerate global drowning prevention.

Filling a critical knowledge gap: Nossal Institute

The COVID19 pandemic has revealed failings in global capacity to prepare for and respond to a truly global pandemic. In response to increased demand for expertise, the Nossal team have fast tracked the development of a new subject to fill a critical gap in how pandemics are prepared for and can be responded to. Read more
 

WHAT'S ON IN GLOBAL HEALTH?

  • 20 August:  World Mosquito Day
  • 17 September: World Patient Safety Day

UPCOMING EVENTS & COURSES

SAVE THE DATE: Global launch of The Lancet Heat and Health Series 

The Series is the timely culmination of several years work by a global authorship team led and supported by the University of Sydney, with the University of Washington and Alliance member Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

Co-chaired by The Lancet (Dr Selina Lo, Consulting Editor and Alliance Executive Director) and the University of Sydney (Prof Ollie Jay)

Speakers will include lead authors from University of Washington and University of Sydney, and a discussion panel of experts from Public Health England, Tennis Australia, and The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

24 August 2021
3pm GMT / 11pm AEST

Register here

MCGH-PDI Global Health Forum: Social Science and Vaccine Uptake


Vaccine hesitancy has been in the headlines across much of 2021, as the world struggles to gain the upper hand on the COVID19 pandemic. In this talk, three experts will discuss the role that social science research and methods can play in understanding reasons for vaccine treatment uptake and failure in the fight against infectious diseases in LMICs, and its role in informing public health interventions. Prof. Margie Danchin will cover perspectives of the COVID-19 vaccine uptake in low-middle income countries, and the COVID-19 impact on schooling. Dr Inke Nadia D Lubis will speak from Medan, Indonesia on COVID-19 vaccine uptake in that country, where COVID infections have surged, including the highly infectious Delta variant. She will also share the social challenges of conducting research before and during the current pandemic. This will be complemented by the perspectives of infectious diseases expert and researcher on malaria and intestinal helminths, A/Prof Siddhartha Mahanty.
 
Speakers
  • Associate Professor Margie Danchin (Melbourne) is a consultant paediatrician within the Department of General Medicine, Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), and an Associate Professor at the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, where she leads the Vaccine Uptake Group
  • Associate Professor Siddhartha Mahanty (Melbourne) is an infectious diseases specialist and parasitologist based in the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He is involved in inpatient and outpatient care in infectious diseases and conducts research on malaria and intestinal helminths.
  • Dr Inke Nadia D Lubis (Indonesia): is a paediatrician, researcher based in Medan, North Sumatra where she is a member of the COVID task force. She is vice dean at Universitas Sumartera Utara where she lectures in tropical medicine.
Chair
  • Dr Ricardo Ataide is Senior Research Fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and Peter Doherty Institute, with an interest in infectious diseases focusing on malaria

Monday, 9 August 2021
12.30-1.30pm AEST

Location: Zoom or Danks meeting Room (MCRI staff only)
Proud in culture, strong in spirit: celebrating National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children's Day

You are invited to #GeorgeTalks webinar on Proud in culture, strong in spirit: celebrating National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children's Day. 

Dr. Mohamed will outline the importance of services in providing cultural connection, and the key role of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workforce in the safety and wellbeing of children and families. Dr. Coombes will share her work, ‘Safe Pathways’- a quality improvement and partnership approach to discharge planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children following burn injury. A facilitated conversation will follow the presentations.

Speakers:
  • Dr. Janine Mohamed: CEO of the Lowitja Institute
  • Dr. Julieann Coombes: Research Fellow in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program at The George Institute.

Moderated by:
  • Prof. Bruce Neal: Executive Director of The George Institute.
     
Tuesday, 10 August 2021
1.00pm AEST

Location: Register here 
NRL Scientific Symposium Returns in 2021
 
After cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Annual NRL Scientific Symposium on Infectious Diseases & our Asian NRL Workshop return in 2021, with registrations now open.

The 37th Annual Infectious Diseases Symposium will be held physically in Melbourne, Australia from 11 to 13th October and will incorporate a virtual stream.  We are also pleased to announce the return of the Asian Summit which will be a virtual event held concurrently with the Annual Symposium. These symposia offer participants throughout the region and globally to participate virtually, opening up the event to a much wider audience.

 The 37th NRL scientific Symposium on Infectious Disease will showcase a diverse range of topics and speakers including COVID-19, Malaria, HTLV-1 in indigenous populations, blood safety, test kit evaluations and many others.

 The Asian Summit will be held concurrently and virtually and will include topics of interest in developed and emerging economy countries with an emphasis on capacity building in quality management systems in Asia. Delegates from all Asian nations are invited to register.

11-13 October 2021
Registrations are now open

Raising hands for Global Education: Results Australia

On Tuesday, 13 July, Results Australia brought together people from diverse communities – educators, young people, parents, federal parliamentarians – to demonstrate their shared support for Australia to invest in global education at the Global Education Summit, that was held on 28 – 29 July 2021.

Raise your hand for global education by catching up on the virtual panel discussion.

GRANTS

PHD OPPORTUNITIES

Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University

The Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University is seeking HDR candidates for a range of projects, and has several scholarships available. The projects cover many aspects of physical activity and nutrition research, including lab-based projects, clinical research, public health, smart technology and implementation science.  Opportunities are open to domestic and international students currently living in Australia. For details on all available opportunities, please click here.
 
Upscaling the Management of Hypertension in GP practices in Australia (PhD Scholarship Opportunity) 

The George Institute currently have a scholarship available for a suitably qualified candidate to undertake a 3 year, full-time PhD. The successful student will be enrolled in the School of Population Health at UNSW, Sydney however will be based at The George Institute for Global Health. 

This PhD aims to use large-scale datasets to comprehensively evaluate key elements of hypertension management practices in Australia, compare these to current evidence-based ‘best practice’ and model their impact on the cardiovascular health of Australians. It will also evaluate training programmes in Medical School curricula and other training programs and ascertain the views of general practitioners and primary care experts on how to improve hypertension care.

Closing Date - Sunday 15th August 2021

If you are interested in undertaking this research project and require further information, please contact Professor Alta Schutte - a.schutte@unsw.edu.au, or read the position description. 

What we're reading, watching and listening to

🎧 Contain this podcast: Community preparedness and response in Indonesia - Eka Wulan Cahyasari, Indonesian Red Cross
In this episode we talk with Eka Wulan Cahyasari from the Indonesian Red Cross Society about how, with the support of the Centre, they are drawing upon existing pandemic preparedness tools and influential community volunteer networks to support surveillance, vaccine hesitancy programs and community resilience in the face of challenging times in Indonesia.
📺 Celebrate the launch of WGH Australia
A conversation to launch Women in Global Health Australia with Professor Fiona Stanley, Founding Director and Patron of the Telethon Kids Institute, and Dr Roopa Dhatt, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Women in Global Health. 
📖Women, indigenous groups and One Health: from social protection to harnessing powerful agents of change: Nossal Institute
Engaging with women is fundamental to strengthening the inter-connection pathways for societal and planetary good, while the use of a ‘One Health’ approach can also better enable the social protection of women and vulnerable groups. Clare Strachan, Max Barot, Angus Campbell write about how critical the gender component of the human-animal-environment interface is.  
📖Experiences of menstruation in high income countries: A systematic review, qualitative evidence synthesis and comparison to low- and middle-income countries: UWA
There is growing recognition of the importance of menstruation in achieving health, education, and gender equality for all. The model developed can be used to inform research, policy and practice decisions. The researchers emphasise the pathways through which negative menstrual experiences occur, encouraging policy makers and practitioners to direct resources where they are most likely to improve the lives of those who menstruate
📖COVID boosters for wealthy nations spark outrage
Israel has announced plans to begin giving booster shots to older adults next week, in the hope of increasing their protection against COVID-19 — and a number of other wealthy countries are considering the same. But global-health researchers warn that this strategy could set back efforts to end the pandemic.
📖Cervical screening self-collection should be introduced, say experts
📖Malaria-free: How China squashed the pesky disease

This year, the WHO has declared China free from malaria. Just 80 years ago, China faced an estimated 30 million cases of malaria and 300,000 related deaths per year, says Professor Zhou Xiaonong, Director at China’s National Institute of Parasitic Diseases (NIPD). The country has since managed to stop all local transmissions for four years, and put in place a functional surveillance and response system to prevent a resurgence of the disease. How did they tackle this enormous problem? 

📖Doctors issue official guidance on effects of air pollution and bushfire smoke on pregnant people

New patient resources warning of the dangers of air pollution and bushfire smoke to pregnant people or those planning to conceive have been issued by the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), in what is thought to be a world-first. The information should serve as ‘wake-up call’ that action on climate change is needed to protect people and their children

GLOBAL HEALTH JOBS

Burnet Institute
Principal Research Fellow - Immunisation and Vaccines
Location: Melbourne
Mathematical Modeller
Location: Melbourne
Public Health Registrar
Location: Melbourne
The George Institute
Research Fellow, Cardiovascular Program
Location: Sydney
PhD Scholarship Opportunity: Upscaling the Management of Hypertension in GP practices in Australia
Location: Sydney
Research Assistant - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program / Food Policy
Location: Sydney

 
Indo Pacific Centre for Health Security
DFAT Principal Sector Specialist (Health) Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Location: Canberra

 
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition
Deakin University

Research Fellow – Digital Health
Location: Melbourne
International SOS
Health Consultant
Location: Australia – flexible working environment



 
NRL 
Laboratory Technician
Location: Melbourne
Nossal Institute for Global Health
People and Culture Coordinator
Senior Technical Advisor – Health Financing
Location: Melbourne
Have something to share? We want to share your news, events, jobs, courses and accomplishments in our monthly ezine. Send all content through to deputydirector@glham.org.

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