AITHM James Cook University

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While acknowledging the heartbreaking emotional toll of stillbirth, AITHM’s Health Economics team, led by Dr Emily Callander, is looking at the full economic cost of the tragedy. The team will lead the Health Economics element of a new Centre of Research Excellence (CRE), based at the Mater Research Institute Brisbane. The team will evaluate the full economic cost of stillbirth and the economic implications of reducing it.

Stillbirth rates in Australia and New Zealand have remained steady for some time, with approximately 3000 babies being born still each year. This project will assess the economic impact of stillbirth, not only to the parents and family of the infant but also to the community, as sadly, the child will not have the opportunity to contribute to society. The quantification of these extended costs is essential for the robust design of economic evaluations of interventions to reduce stillbirth, which seek to include the costs of stillbirth when considering the benefits new treatments can produce.

This is particularly relevant in northern Australia, as stillbirth is more prevalent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. This funding will enable the Health Economics team to build capacity with an additional PhD student and a research assistant, who will become specialists in the health economics of stillbirth, with further collaborations with clinicians in this field.