First 1000 Days
The first 1000 days of life is a key priority area of the SA Centre with current activities focussing on areas such as maternal immunisation, the establishment of a new immunisation clinic Womens and Childrens Hospital and the development of new infant feeding guidelines for allergy prevention.
Research conducted by Associate Professor Helen Marshall and colleagues at the Women’s and Children’s Health Network identified that uptake of immunisation in pregnant women was low, that pregnant women would receive the vaccine if recommended by their health care provider and that medical practitioners involved in the care of pregnant women were confident in recommendations for pregnant women to receive influenza and pertussis vaccine. However they indicated that structures were not in place to allow delivery of immunisations to pregnant women.
A midwife delivered immunisation program for pregnant women was subsequently implemented at the WCH which successfully improved immunisation rates for pertussis immunisation in pregnant women from 20% to 82% and an increase in uptake of influenza vaccine from 30% to 75%.
New immunisation clinic
Research conducted by Professor Helen Marshall and colleagues has shown that children with chronic medical conditions miss out on receiving recommended immunisations, particularly immunisations such as influenza vaccine which is provided free to children who are at increased risk of complications from influenza.
As children with chronic conditions tend to receive medical care at the WCH and therefore don’t necessarily attend a general practitioner, they are at risk of missing out on recommended immunisations.
To improve uptake for children attending the WCH, a new immunisation clinic has been established in the outpatients department, to facilitate uptake of recommended vaccines for at risk children and their families. By offering a service to family members of children with chronic medical conditions as well, the child will be additionally protected through reduction in transition of infection from family members.
New infant feeding guidelines for allergy prevention
Recent studies by Professor Maria Makrides, Associate Professor Mike Gold and Dr. Merryn Netting have been important in shifting the evidence base with regarding complementary feeding and allergy prevention. A national effort, coordinated through the Centre of Food Allergy Research, has resulted in a set of recently released harmonised feeding guidelines adopted by Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy and the National Food Allergy Strategy (and supported by all relevant stakeholder groups).