On Tuesday the NRPC hosted an address by newly-appointed Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Ruth Stewart at the National Press Club in Canberra.
To coincide with World Prematurity Day, Professor Stewart presented the stark statistics surrounding the rate of premature births in remote, rural and regional Australia and the correlation between the closure of many bush maternity facilities. Remote women are almost twice as likely to give birth prematurely, Professor Stewart told the Club.
Visiting Canberra from her home on Thursday Island, Dr Stewart said she believed the premature birth rates in rural and remote areas could be halved with the right care and the reopening and retention of local maternity services.
NRPC President and ABC national regional affairs reporter Lucy Barbour moderated the discussion that also spanned a wide range of other regional health issues.