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Diabetes during pregnancy carries an increased risk of short and long-term health risks, including reduced life expectancy, for mothers and their babies. With rates of diabetes in pregnant women rising, it is vital that interventions are established as early as possible in life. The DIABETES across the LIFECOURSE: Northern Australia Partnership, led by Professor Louise Maple-Brown, (Menzies School of Health Research), combines researchers, policy makers and health service providers, to improve models of health care and service delivery to women and their babies in remote northern Australia.

PANDORA (Pregnancy and Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia)

A key project within the DIABETES across the LIFECOURSE: Northern Australia Partnership is the PANDORA study. PANDORA is a longitudinal birth cohort study of mothers and their children that will assess outcomes of diabetes in pregnancy in the Northern Territory, including high-risk Aboriginal women and their children. The study provides a better understanding of the long-term effects of diabetes during pregnancy on both mother and child. The results of this study will contribute to policy and clinical practice guidelines on the management of diabetes in pregnancy and follow-up of mother and baby. The study will also inform the design of further work to reduce risk of future obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in both the mothers and children. The PANDORA cohort involves 1170 mothers and their children born 2011–2017.

PANDORA Wave 2 (2019–2023)

PANDORA Wave 2 is the next follow-up phase of the PANDORA cohort, where all mothers and children 5½–10 years of age/post-partum will be invited to participate in a health examination. The cohort will also be broadened to include a group of brothers and sisters (5½–16 years) of Aboriginal PANDORA children who will be invited to participate. Study assessment commenced in late 2019 and will continue until 2023, to cover the 5 year age range of the cohort.

These studies are a collaboration between the Baker Institute and Menzies School of Health Research, Northern Territory Department of Health Research, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and Healthy Living NT. The benefits of the partnership are wide-reaching for the broader community and the health of future generations.

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