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Funds boost for healthcare

WESTERN Australian healthcare and research received a major boost last week with $1.3 million in LotteryWest funding granted to tackle diabetes and the official opening of a new biomedical research facility by the University of WA and the WA Institute for Medical Research.Diabetes Australia WA (DAWA), which received the grant, plans to use the funds towards creating a state-of-the-art centre to tackle diabetes from a holistic approach to the management of diabetes. Currently one in 13 Western Australians has diabetes and with the incidence of Type 2 diabetes increasing, the new centre will form a crucial part of beating the epidemic, DAWA chief executive Liz Kerrigan says.She said DAWA’s new home would allow it to offer new and increased services for people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, including an extension of the Diabetes Information and Advice Line services so people could receive after-hours support. “It’s planned the centre will be a one-stop shop for diabetes care, incorporating a podiatrist, psycho-logist, optometrist, diabetes educators and dieticians, as well as offering a comprehensive resources library with internet access,” Ms Kerrigan said.It is anticipated the centre will be based close to or within easy reach of the Perth CBD and become operational in 2006, with DAWA’s existing East Perth office remaining open until the new centre is operational.More than 120,000 people in WA have diabetes, but only half are aware they are affected by the condition and thousands more are at risk of developing it, according to DAWA. Diabetes is also tipped to become one of this century’s worst health epidemics with predictions that by 2030, more than 366 million people across the globe will have the condition.A new $23.3 million biomedical facility tipped to speed up research into the genetic causes of human diseases has been opened at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Nedlands.A joint venture between UWA and WAIMR, the new facility boasts innovative new technologies and equipment that will enable more rapid identification and testing of genes involved in human disease, according to WAIMR director Peter Klinken.“The main feature of the facility is a safer new system of decon-tamination, using a portable high-pressure hydrogen peroxide unit, which is a very exciting step forward,” Mr Klinken said.It is the first of three planned facilities, intended to form a platform of excellence for biomedical research in WA, with a 3,000 square metre flagship facility to be located at UWA’s Shenton Park Field Station, Mr Klinken said.The facility was funded from a $3.3 million infrastructure grant to WAIMR from the National Health and Medical Research Council and $20 million from UWA.

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