Increasing Aboriginal women's engagement with antenatal and postnatal services to prevent congenital syphilis in Western Australia: Stories of success and lessons learned

YEAR

2021-2022

PROJECT STATUS

Active

ETHICS APPROVAL

The Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee (WAAHEC) has approved this research project (HREC1089)

INVETIGATORS

Dr Roanna Lobo (Curtin University), Dr Belinda D’Costa (Curtin University), Ms Amanda Sibosado (Curtin University)

FUNDING

This research is supported by funding from the Western Australian Department of Health Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program

PROJECT OVERVIEW

Aboriginal people residing in regional, remote, and very remote locations in Western Australia (WA) are disproportionately impacted by syphilis when compared with non-Aboriginal people. A syphilis outbreak was declared in the WA Kimberley region in 2014, progressing to other WA regions in the following years. If diagnosed early, syphilis is easily treated. If left untreated, it can have serious health implications. Engaging Aboriginal pregnant women in antenatal and postnatal care is critical to diagnose syphilis early and prevent congenital syphilis. This research will seek to document the range of antenatal and postnatal care strategies implemented in response to the WA syphilis outbreak, the efficacy of strategies in encouraging Aboriginal pregnant women to access syphilis testing, the factors contributing to the level of engagement of Aboriginal pregnant women with these strategies, and lessons learned. Importantly, this research will capture the subjective experiences of Aboriginal pregnant women accessing antenatal and postnatal care, making a valuable contribution the limited research in this area.

PROJECT AIMS

  • Identify effective approaches for engaging Aboriginal pregnant women in syphilis testing during antenatal and postnatal care
  • Explore the experiences of Aboriginal pregnant women engaging in antenatal and postnatal care services

PROJECT OUTPUTS AND IMPACTS

  • Enhanced understanding of the experiences of Aboriginal pregnant women accessing antenatal and postnatal care services
  • Increased evidence of what is needed across the WA regions to support responses to the syphilis outbreak and the delivery of antenatal and postnatal care to Aboriginal women
  • Increased workforce capacity among workers in the WA regions by facilitating the sharing of knowledge about effective ways of working
  • Enhanced capacity of Aboriginal women participating in the research

CONTACT

Dr Belinda D’Costa, Project Coordinator
E: belinda.dcosta@curtin.edu.au
P: (08) 9266 4112