The federal government has announced it will provide $5.9 million for projects focused on cancer prevention among women in vulnerable communities across the world through the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD).
The funding will be provided through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Three of the four projects will support research to implement cervical cancer screening in India, Papua New Guinea and Eswatini.
Funding is also committed to allowing SISTAQUIT (Supporting Indigenous Smokers to Assist Quitting) to expand its free, online training in quit smoking methods to all Australian health services catering to Indigenous women during pregnancy.
Health minister Greg Hunt said the projects would help women across the globe and here at home.
“Cervical cancer is highly preventable but, according to the World Health Organisation, poor access to prevention, screening and treatment contributes to 90 per cent of cervical cancer-related deaths,” said Mr Hunt.
“These projects will support improved health outcomes here and across our region, helping to both save lives and protect lives.”
Australia, through the NHMRC, is a founding member of the GACD, the first international collaboration of major research funding agencies that specifically addresses chronic non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and in vulnerable communities in high-income countries (HICs).
NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso, who is a member of the GACD Strategy Board and past chair, said its participation in the GACD provided an opportunity for Australian researchers to help reduce the burden of chronic diseases in vulnerable communities around the world.
“By working with other international funding agencies through the GACD, we can amplify our impact on non-communicable diseases in the communities that are most affected and have least access to the advances of modern medicine,” said Professor Kelso.
“This is more important than ever today as chronic diseases can increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”