Murtupuni’s key role in paediatric research project


Murtupuni Centre of Regional and Rural Health’s Weipa-based nursing academic, Sally West, is helping spearhead a project, which has been granted $1.6 million to improve treatment for children suffering Acute Respiratory Failure in rural and remote areas.

Sally is completing her Doctorate of Philosophy in the same area of her study and has been the instigator of the collaboration with many investigators on this project.

She has collaborated with subject matter experts since 2018 and continues to build on these positive relationships, which in turn provide improved care for children in these remote and rural settings.

The team, which includes researchers from Griffith University, James Cook University, Wesley Hospital and Metro South Hospital and Health Services, are working with lead world respiratory paediatric researchers, Associate Professor Donna Franklin and Dr Andreas Schibler.

They are working to introduce a respiratory care package, including nasal high-flow therapy to rural and remote hospitals. The rollout includes the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service at Weipa, Thursday Island and Cooktown.

Sally said acute respiratory distress in children was the most common reason for both emergency department presentation in Australia and paediatric retrievals in remote Australia.

“We know respiratory distress is the leading reason kids seek medical attention and retrievals across Northern Australia,” Sally said.

“This will reduce the burden on families when kids are sick, and also on the health service.”

Above: Sally (left) is pictured with fellow researcher, Malama Gray.

The program has been successfully trialled in three remote hospitals and the grant from the Medical Research future Fund’s Emerging Priorities and Consumer Driven Research Initiative will allow it to be rolled out to a further 15 sites.


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A Commonwealth funded Department of Rural Health
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