Associate Professor Lisa Hui awarded the prestigious Aldo Vacca Award

The Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology congratulates Associate Professor Lisa Hui for winning the top prize at this year’s Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) Annual Scientific Meeting for her research on obstetric and newborn outcomes during pandemic lockdown in Melbourne.

She was awarded the prestigious Aldo Vacca Award for the best free communication for her talk on the “Collaborative Maternity and Newborn Dashboard (CoMaND) for the COVID19 pandemic: real-time monitoring of perinatal services performance indicators in Victoria”.

Her research showed that that public hospitals across Melbourne observed increases in infant birthweights over the 90th centile, as well as increases in rates of maternal overweight and obesity during the first Melbourne lockdown period. There was also a decline in exclusive breast-milk feeding during stage 3 and stage 4 restrictions.

In the virtual conference award ceremony on February 18th, RANZCOG president Dr Vijay Roach said that more than 400 scientific abstracts had been submitted to the ASM this year. “I am sure Aldo would have been very happy to have known that you are receiving this award”, he said to Lisa.

The CoMaND project collects a wide range of maternal and newborn outcomes from public hospitals each month and produces a report that is circulated to health services, the COVID-19 expert obstetric advisory group to Safer Care Victoria, and the Chair of the Consultative Council of Obstetric and Paediatric Morbidity and Mortality. The collaboration was supported by grants from the Norman Beischer Research Foundation and the University of Melbourne Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

“It has been incredibly valuable for our clinical leaders to be able to monitor the impacts of changes to maternity care during the pandemic”, Lisa said. “The support of our funders was crucial to this work. Without this resource, we would not know if we were doing more harm than good with our pandemic response.”

“It has been incredibly gratifying to have 100% of public maternity hospitals in Melbourne signing up to the collaboration so that we can rapidly detect any concerning safety signals in perinatal outcomes such as stillbirth or preterm birth.”

The CoMaND project will continue to report on the impacts of the pandemic on mothers and babies throughout 2021 and 2022.