Indigenous health underpins Menzies grant win 


The Northern Territory's leading health research institute is set to increase its capacity substantially after being awarded about $7.4 million in new grants from the Federal Government. 
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), yesterday announced the funding win awarded to Charles Darwin University’s Menzies School of Health Research to continue its critical research in Aboriginal communities. 
Menzies' Director, Professor Jonathan Carapetis said the funding was a major step towards helping to ensure a healthier future for thousands of Indigenous Australians. 
“The new grant money will drive our research in rural and remote communities and help close the gap of life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” he said. 
Menzies projects will include studies into: tobacco control to reduce respiratory illness in babies, scabies, Red Back spider anti-venom, evaluating mobile pre-schooling, kidney function measurements, antibiotic use and rotavirus vaccine effectiveness. 
Menzies’ Dr David Thomas has been awarded $864,875 for his research into reducing respiratory illness in Indigenous infants. 
Dr Thomas will test whether a family-based program about environmental tobacco smoke will reduce the number of clinic presentations of infants for respiratory illness. 
“Over 60 per cent of Indigenous children live in households with one or more regular smokers, where they are exposed to high levels of environmental tobacco smoke, a significant and preventable cause of respiratory illness,” he said. 
“If successful, the study has the potential to improve the health of Indigenous children across Australia.” 
Some 688 NHMRC grants totalling more than $357 million were awarded to universities and research institutions across the country to enable Australia’s best and brightest health and medical researchers to continue their health and medical research.