The life expectancy rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is a growing concern. It is almost three times more than non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Current Indigenous health research focusses on managing chronic illness in rural areas, improving mental health to reduce self-harm and suicide and preventing acute infections.
Research into children with burns has resulted in an exciting new burn treatment technology. Laser treatment allows scars to be managed without surgery, assisting the thousands of children with burns injuries each year.
Research projects have also produced clinical trials to benefit children with scarring and avenues for psychological support to encourage self-appreciation and resilience.
Queensland now has a dedicated cystic fibrosis research program that will undoubtedly make improvements. The life-limiting condition is diagnosed in approximately 70 Australian babies each year, with about 450 children being treated in Queensland annually.
The research programs hope to find initiatives to give children with CF better support services and, hopefully, a longer life expectancy.
The research on infectious diseases has brought great results with positive outcomes achieved in the fight against meningococcal. There is now a response to the potentially fatal disease with the development of rapid testing to diagnose the meningococcal bacteria. The rapid test results can be seen within an hour rather than the numerous days it took previously.
The vaccine for meningococcal was the result of ongoing research, and it is now registered in Australia.