The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has reported that while the health of children is generally faring well across the country, there is room for significant improvement in several areas.

The AIHW published its Hardline indicators for children’s health, development and wellbeing, 2011 which tracks various health indicators of children aged between 0-12 across a field of 12 to 19 nationally agreed priority areas such as health, early learning and care, family and community.

‘Internationally, Australia’s performance was better than the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) average based on data for infant mortality, low birthweight, dental health, injury deaths and teenage births,’ said AIHW spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released the 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report, finding a mixed result for the consumption rates of smoking, alcohol and illicit drug use.

One of the most advanced virtual reality simulations ever applied to an Australian health care system is set to shape the future of mental health services.

Scientists working on the Australian-based Ausimmune Study have discovered that a past infection with glandular fever, also known as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), combined with genetic variations in the immune system can greatly increase a person’s risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).

Achieving significant advances in the study of cancer cells and their ability to reproduce has seen University of Sydney researcher, Professor Roger Reddel awarded the Outstanding Cancer Researcher of the Year at the Cancer Institute NSW Premier's Awards for Outstanding Cancer Research.

A new nanomedicine centre at the University of New South Wales, the first of its kind in Australia, will research new treatments for difficult-to-treat diseases including aggressive childhood cancer and lung cancer.

The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine (ACN), was launched by Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb. The centre brings together medical and clinical researchers with specialists in nanotechnology, engineering and chemistry to create new treatments for disease.

Professor Chubb said work like the ACN's was central to the purpose of Australia's universities.

"The purpose of universities is to use our talents to make the world a better place," Professor Chubb said.

"Nanomedicine will enable better delivery of drugs and vital therapies to individuals who would not prosper without that treatment."

The ACN, in partnership with the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia (CCIA) and UNSW’s Lowy Cancer Research Centre, is targeting neuroblastoma among its initial projects. Neuroblastoma is a difficult-to-treat cancer – the most common tumour in children under five years of age and one which has one of the lowest survival rates – 40 to 50 per cent.

The University of Queensland (UQ) has entered into a landmark agreement with technology specialist Siemens, to install a powerful MRI system that is more than twice as strong as any other system currently available in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Queensland Government has continued to chase down overpayments to health workers, despite an agreement made between the Government and the Queensland Nurses Union to focus on the underpayment of staff throughout the state.

Representatives of some of the largest pharmaceutical companies have accused the Federal Government of reneging on a deal in which they accepted to charge less for their product in return for policy stability.

The Victorian Government is providing funding of $1.6 million to support the operation of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund over the next four years.

Two studies conducted by the University of Western Australia show that early detection of diabetic retinopathy, swelling of the retina caused by diabetes mellitus, can significantly reduce its severity.

Former New South Wales Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Health Minister, Dr Andrew Refshauge has been appointed as the new Chair of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) for a three-year term.

He will replace the outgoing Chair, Peter Collins.

Acting Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler also announced the appointment of three new members of the AIHW board—Mr James Moore, Ms Samantha Page and Ms Jessica Cumming.

The New South Wales Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Jillian Skinner, has announced an investment of more than $30 million in cancer research projects across seven major NSW research centres.

The Queensland State Government has announced the opening of Townsville Hospital’s new North Block, the state’s largest emergency department (ED).

The Queensland Government has announced that it will focus on rectifying underpayments to Queensland Health staff, including nurses and midwives.

The Cardiac Catheter Laboratory in the Ballarat Base Hospital is nearing completion. The cardiac laboratory is part of a $20 million redevelopment of the hospital, which also includes upgrade of the special care nursery and maternity outpatients ward.

The Victorian State Government has announced it will invest $2 million for a redevelopment of the Ballan District Health and Care Hospital.

The Federal Government has called for local governments to apply for over $26 million in the latest round of the Healthy Communities Grants.

The Australian Medical Association has launched an online petition as part of its campaign to convince the Government to restore funding for GP mental health services through Medicare under the Better Access Program.

Work has begun on the $41 million Berri Hospital Redevelopment in South Australia.

NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, has launched a website offering real-time information on the number of patients waiting for treatment in 58 emergency departments across the state.

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