Supported by the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, the Award is designed to provide training and development for early career researchers in the Western Pacific Region who are investigating infectious diseases in children.
Celestine’s successful project is titled: ‘Prevalence and aetiology of otitis media in Papua New Guinean (PNG) children attending out-patient clinics in the Eastern Highlands’, and aims to determine the true burden of ear infections amongst different age groups and the cause of these infections.
Celestine is currently working at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, and her passion for research around otitis media stems from her own childhood growing up in PNG.
“My little brother had bilateral hearing loss as a consequence of recurring ear infections as a baby, and this caused him to struggle with learning – my parents would often ask to keep him seated at the front of the classroom so he could hear the teacher,” said Celestine.
She added that her family knew little about the effects of otitis media on hearing as it was considered a normal part of growing up, and they did not have education around ear health issues or awareness of audiology support services.
“As part of my research, I hope to bring emphasis on the awareness of otitis media in the community and in primary health care,” she said.
Celestine will be formally announced as the winner of the Deborah Lehmann Research Award winner at the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases sundowners’ event on 6 March, 2019.