Rare diseases research and policy in Australia: on the journey to equitable care

Kaustuv Bhattacharya*, Nicole Millis, Adam Jaffe, Yvonne Zurynski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Almost exactly 10 years after the publication of ‘Call for a national plan for rare diseases’ in this journal, the Federal Government launched the National Strategic Action Plan for Rare Diseases (the Action Plan) on the 26th of February 2020, in the lead up to Rare Disease Day on the 29th of February – a rare day for rare diseases. The Action Plan is the culmination of effective advocacy by Rare Voices Australia (RVA) and other stakeholders in the rare disease (RD) sector. RVA is the peak body for Australians living with a RD. The organisation works collaboratively with RD organisations, researchers and clinicians. Since the initial call for a RD plan, a number of health-care initiatives and policy changes have gathered apace including expanded antenatal and newborn screening, the increasing application of next generation sequencing and advances in gene and cell therapeutics. The development of new models of care, diagnostic and treatment pathways, and communities of practice have started to ease the considerable burden and inequitable access to care experienced by RD patients and their families. However, much work remains to be done. The Action Plan outlines the actions to bring about the best possible health and well-being outcomes for Australians living with RD. It is centred around three pillars – awareness and education, care and support, research and data – and will be delivered against the principles of person centredness, equity, and sustainable systems and workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)778-781
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume57
Issue number6
Early online date16 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • children
  • equitable access
  • national policy
  • rare disease

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