Rural health

Overview

In both Argentina and Australia, the health care received by rural communities is inferior to urban areas. To address this, we promote a bilateral and multi-sector approach, based on common experiences and shared values between the two countries.

Regional communities contribute significantly to national wealth and economic development in both Argentina and Australia. But citizens in regional communities experience poorer health outcomes (e.g. higher cardiovascular disease mortality and perinatal morbidity) and have inferior access to health care. Previous strategies to improve these outcomes have been uni-sectoral and fragmented.

This project will address the question: How can a multi-sector approach result in new strategies to address the disparities and inequities between urban and rural healthcare outcomes experienced in Australia and Argentina?

Collaboration between institutions of higher education, and Ministries such as Regional and Social Development, Regional Communication, Health, Education and Infrastructure in both countries, can generate a coordinated approach for building, strengthening and sustaining the health and well-being of rural communities.

This project will facilitate shared understandings and experiences, international exchanges and joint research to create a bilateral framework to address this mission.

The research aims to provide a positive return on investment by improving healthcare delivery in regional areas. Engaging local government and local communities is a key part of this process, as they can deliver local resources, prioritise actions and provide leadership. Local communities are also likely to consider innovative ways of achieving their goals.

Project aims

Multi-sector approach

A multi-sector approach to one or more of the following issues:

  • Workforce maldistribution. This should include the education, recruitment, retention and ongoing professional development of rural health professionals, including generalist clinicians and nursing and allied health workers.
  • Use of technology. The development of reliable infrastructure for education and health care (e.g. telehealth), the use of simulation for education and training, use of portable devices to monitor and deliver health care in remote areas, and the storage and sharing of systems of information in hospitals and community settings
  • Models of care. Models of care that include greater focus on inter-professional education for collaborative practice, public-private partnerships, and blurring of professional boundaries traditionally held by various disciplines

Government agreement

Governmental agreement on:

  • sharing resources that exist already, such as curricula, learning management systems
  • sharing solutions and outcomes
  • staff exchanges
  • student exchanges.

Activities

University of Adelaide meeting

On 24 November, 2017, Professor Nicky Hudson chaired a meeting at the new Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences building with the aim of developing a strategic plan to support a research program that will investigate the following research question:

What are the quantitative and qualitative economic, health and social outcomes of an initiative to increase recruitment of medical workforce in South Australian rural communities since 2004?

Grant submission

A grant submission was sent to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in March 2018.

The grant would support the Australian team to conduct a study tour to Argentina in February 2019 in a project exploring the synchronicity and compatibility of the rural health systems in the province of Santa Fe and the state of South Australia.

A joint research grant application is planned for submission to the Australian Research Council (ARC) in 2019. The proposed ARC project would consist of a detailed research program to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of an education model for rural health professionals in the communities.

Memorandum of understanding

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the University of Adelaide and the National University of the Littoral in March 2018 to further strengthen and expand their collaboration in the future.

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