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The Hospital Research Foundation’s (THRF) Healthy Newborn Project is an exciting new initiative that will save the lives of mothers and babies in rural and remote Australia through antenatal ultrasound.

Led by Dr Nayana Parange and Professor Eva Bezak from the University of South Australia, the project will see a number of healthcare professionals from rural South Australia brought to Adelaide for on-campus training in point of care ultrasound.

Sadly, there are too many rural communities who currently have no qualified professionals available to conduct an antenatal ultrasound, which is essential in best-practice care for an expecting mother during pregnancy. Antenatal ultrasound can provide vital information for a pregnant woman and the health professional, such as an estimated due date for the baby. It is also able to identify a myriad of complications if one should arise, including ectopic pregnancies, which can be life-threatening.

The funding from THRF will also ensure that this project involves a needs analysis survey around Australia, painting a picture of the state of our rural communities to influence government policy.

“Rural communities and healthcare facilities have limited resources to address many health-related needs in pregnancy,” Dr Parange explained.

“Thanks to the generosity of THRF’s community, we are now able to deliver a training program to GPs and midwives that will bring lifesaving antenatal point of care ultrasound service within easier reach for pregnant mums and communities living in regional and remote South Australia.

“This is a very important development and a game changer for people in regional and rural communities in SA.”

The funding from THRF will enable Dr Parange and her group to identify barriers and challenges that women in regional and remote areas face Australia-wide, in relation to accessing lifesaving ultrasound services in antenatal care, which can then feed into policy development around this area.

“I am so excited about the project as it will make a significant contribution to improving pregnancy outcomes in the community in regional and remote areas.”

If you are a health professional in remote Australia and interested in mo re information about the antenatal ultrasound training as part of this project, please contact Dr Parange on nayana.parange@unisa.edu.au or Associate Professor Jill Benson on jill.benson@adelaide.edu.au.