While acknowledging the heartbreaking emotional toll of stillbirth, a James Cook University team is also looking at the economic cost of the tragedy.
Dr Emily Callander from the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) at JCU will lead the Health Economics element of a new Centre of Research Excellence (CRE), based at the Mater Research Institute. The team will evaluate the full economic cost of stillbirth and the economic implications of reducing it.
Dr Callander said it is a unique project.
“Unfortunately, stillbirth rates in Australia and New Zealand have remained steady for some time, with approximately 3000 babies dying 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,” she said.
Dr Callander said researchers have the opportunity to make society aware of the extent of the impact of stillbirth, including upon family members.
“It is particularly relevant in northern Australia, as stillbirth is more prevalent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.”
AITHM’s team will benefit from National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding for the recently announced Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) Rounds.
The NHMRC funding means AITHM’s Health Economics team will be able to expand with an additional PhD student and a research assistant who will become a specialist in health economics concerning stillbirth.
“This announcement is really exciting, as we’ll be able to build capacity, expanding our research team here within AITHM and giving students and early career researchers the opportunity to collaborate with leading clinicians,” said Dr Callander.
She said that a better understanding of the economic cost of stillbirth might support greater investment to prevent future stillbirths in Australia.
Contact: Dr Emily Callander
M: 0429 057 011
P: (07) 4781 6106
Media please note – Dr Callander works at JCU’s Townsville campus.