Media contact

Lucienne Bamford
The Kirby Institute UNSW Australia
+61 (0) 432 894 029

The Kirby Institute at UNSW Australia will collaborate with the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) and other national and international institutes to conduct a world-first study in maternal and newborn health in PNG.

Led by Dr Andrew Vallely, jointly appointed to the PNGIMR and the Kirby Institute, and Dr William Pomat from PNGIMR, the study will investigate whether same-day, clinic-based testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can improve pregnancy outcomes for women in PNG.

The team will employ highly-accurate and easy-to-use technology to test for common STIs including chlamydia and gonorrhoea. If left untreated, they can lead to serious problems during pregnancy.

Dr Vallely said the infections are difficult to diagnose and treat because the majority of women with an infection do not have any symptoms.

“These newly available technologies will allow us to test whether the systematic screening and treatment of pregnant women for these curable genital infections can make a real impact on pregnancy outcomes in high-burden countries such as PNG,” Dr Vallely said.

The study is supported by a major new research award worth $6.7 million, funded under the Joint Global Health Trials initiative, established by the UK Department for International Development, the Medical Research Council UK and the Wellcome Trust.

The award was announced at the recent 51st Annual Symposium of the PNG Medical Society.

Read more on the Kirby Institute’s website