The Ross Trust Regional Fellowship Program seeks to assist paediatrics and child health leadership in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Death rates for children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Pacific are 15-20 times higher than in Australia. In 2006 the mortality rate for children under five years in PNG was 75 per 1,000 children whereas, in Australia, the mortality rate was four deaths per 1,000.
Since 2005, the Trust has been working with the Centre for International Child Health to run a Regional Fellowship Program for qualified and experienced doctors and nurses working in child health in Papua New Guinea. The program aims to develop much needed leadership skills in child health and was extended to the Solomon Islands, a close neighbour with similar problems in child health, in 2008.
The program continues to produce good outcomes for children in PNG and the Solomon Islands by providing practical nurse and paediatrician training in remote and urban areas for health workers who have not previously had access to professional development opportunities.
Important research and policy work aimed at affecting systemic change is also taking place through valuable local partnerships with the Paediatric Society of PNG and the University of PNG. This research is building a knowledge base for tracking common childhood diseases and outcomes. PNG has never tracked such data; it is anticipated the data collection will assist in the development of effective policy at provincial and national levels. Research into pneumonia, newborn illness, diarrhoea, meningitis and other common illnesses is being supported through the program.
Visit the Centre for International Child Health website.