WIRF is one of Australia’s leading independent research institutions dedicated to improving the health of women and infants.
WIRF is one of Australia’s leading independent research institutions dedicated to improving the health of women and infants. They focus their research and programs across three principal areas: the prevention of preterm birth, gynaecological cancers, and women’s mental health. WIRF’s research and programs have directly contributed to a number of improved clinical practices and health outcomes.
WIRF - A high impact health research institute
One of WIRF’s most significant areas of impact is through its work into preterm birth prevention. Worldwide, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm each year.
WIRF’s world-unique WA Preterm Birth Prevention Initiative (PTBPI) has reduced the rate of preterm birth across WA by 8% in its first year. That’s almost 200 families prevented from having a preterm birth and the prospect of long-term care and permanent disability for their child. Those born at the earliest gestational ages may suffer from severe problems such as cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, blindness and developmental delay.
A sound economic case
WIRF’s Preterm Birth Prevention Initiative not only saves babies lives, it also represents a considerable saving for governments and health systems everywhere. Immediate care for a newborn in the weight range of 750 grams – 2kg typically costs the health system anywhere between $59,000 to $216,000. This does not extend to the ongoing costs associated with life-long health issues for those born too soon.
It is impossible to accurately quantify a return on investment of the program but based on previous year’s incidence of preterm birth (within the various birth weight bands), this equates to a net benefit cost ratio of 24:1 thus, every dollar invested in the PTBPI returned $24 in direct and indirect economic and health benefits.
Shining on the national and international stage
Beyond its commitment to research excellence, WIRF sets its sights on solutions – using its research findings to kick-start and sustain positive change. They are committed to ensuring that the research they do is put into practice and policy by health care providers, governments and other key stakeholders to achieve practical and tangible health outcomes.
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