Australia's Monash University reports on health challenges from climate change

Monash University in Melbourne, together with Global health Alliance Australia, has issued a report titled 'From Townsville to Tuvalu', which examines some 120 peer-reviewed journal articles on health-related impacts of climate change in Australia and the Pacific region.

The report predicts the development of climate-related stunting, malnutrition and lower IQ in children. The expanding habitat of mosquitos would expose more people to diseases including dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika virus. Higher CO2 concentration is also expected to decrease the nutritional value of staple crops within the next two decades.

Report - Global health Alliance Australia

News article - The Guardian

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister announces intentions to wean off Australian asistance within 10 years

Prime minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, has said that he intends to end reliance on Australian assistance within a decade. Speaking in Sydney at a sold-out Lowy Institute event, Marape discussed his plans for revitalizing Papua New Guinea's economy overall, which include an overhaul of the natural resource and agricultural industries. Specifically, he plans to enter into the coffee and rice industries; he believes Papua New Guinea could position itself as the "food basket of Asia".

Australia will provide an estimated US$608 million to Papua New Guinea in development assistance this financial year; a decade from now Marape envisions his nation working with Australia as an economic peer, " looking after smaller island nations".

News article - The Guardian

Australia Agriculture

Australia to increase assistance for education and healthcare in Papua New Guinea

Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, announced that Australia will provide Papua New Guinea (PNG) with A$54 million (US$40 million) for rural primary health services and A$10 million (US$7 million) for accelerated childhood immunization. Up to A$15 million (US$11 million) per year will help control drug-resistant tuberculosis and A$10 million (US$7 million) will be disbursed over three years to build education leadership skills and infrastructure.

The announcement was made at the Papua New Guinea–Australian leaders' dialogue with PNG's Prime Minister, James Marape.

News article - The Mandarin

Australia announces funding for collaborative health research into chronic diseases

Australia's Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has announced that the Australian government will provide almost US$3.4 million (A$5 million) to support global chronic health research projects.

Delivered through the Governments National Health and Medical Research Council, this funding will assist in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases. This includes support focused on the prevention or management of hypertension and diabetes and assistance in scaling up food policy interventions to reduce non-communicable diseases in the Pacific Islands.

The Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases is a collaboration of health and medical research funding bodies. It initiates and supports joint research activities on chronic non-communicable diseases in low and middle-income countries, and in vulnerable and indigenous communities in higher-income countries.

Press release - Department of Health

Conference on international agricultural research to be held at Australia's Parliament House

The Crawford Fund for International Agricultural Research will examine the agriculture, energy, water, and climate change nexus on August 12-13, 2019.  The Fund’s annual conference is held at Australia's Parliament House and attracts many members of parliament. This major event promotes Australian development assistance for agricultural research and food security, including the role of the CGIAR centers.

Conference information - The Crawford Fund

Australian scientists capture footage of antibodies resisting malaria invading cells

Researchers at the Burnett Institute in Melbourne have captured on video the process of the attempted invasion of red blood cells by the malaria parasite. This confirmed findings by Oxford University researchers who had identified antibodies expected to inhibit malaria infections. The video shows these antibodies slowing the invasion. 

News article - ABC News

Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) opens its doors

The Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), which supports infrastructure investment in the Pacific and Timor-Leste, is officially operational. Announced by Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison in November 2018, the AIFFP will invest in telecommunications, energy, transport, water, and other infrastructure.

The AIFFP will comprise US$1 billion in loans and US$344 million in grant funds for infrastructure projects in Pacific island countries and Timor-Leste.  This will significantly boost Australia’s support for infrastructure development in Pacific, and Australia's Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade indicates that the AIFFP will also look for opportunities to work with bilateral and multilateral partners and the private sector.

Website - AIFFP


Australia extends commitment to improve working conditions and gender equity in factories

Foreign affairs minister Marise Payne announced a US$3 million extension to Australia’s partnership with the Better Work program. This initiative pushes governments, factory owners, workers, and brands to improve working conditions and reduce gender discrimination in garment factories.

Simon Birmingham, Australian minister for trade, tourism and investment, has also announced expanded cooperation with the World Trade Organization through the Enhanced Integrated Framework and the Standards and Trade Development Facility.

Press release - DFAT

Australia Global health

Nossal Institute and UNICEF launch MOOC on health systems strengthening

The Nossal Institute for Global Health in Melbourne and UNICEF have adapted a staff training program into a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on health systems strengthening. The first course will run from July 8, 2019.  Participation is open to all but particularly focused on those working in low and middle-income countries, especially doctors, nurses, health administrators, and policymakers.

The eight-week course runs two to three hours a week, using interactive materials and videos to cover the main elements of the UNICEF staff course.

News article - Melbourne University

MOOC course - Future Learn

Australia Global health

HIV diagnoses in Australia drop to lowest number in 18 years

The Kirby Institute, at UNSW Sydney, has reported that last year there were 835 HIV diagnoses across the country, a decline of 23% over five years.

The decline in HIV diagnoses is a result of the efforts of government, healthcare, community, and research sectors. Increasing numbers are being tested for HIV, people are starting treatment earlier, and there has been an uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among high-risk gay and bisexual men. There has been less of a reduction amongst the heterosexual population.

Report: Kirby Institute