Nipuna completed his Bachelor’s degree in Management and Information Technology at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, and worked as a software engineer for two years.
He joined the Brown Group at NeuRA this year with a UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship to work on a digital intervention as a mobile app to help parents prevent falls in children.
He is hopeful that the novel approaches being used to develop these digital interventions will help change behaviours and reduce fall-related injuries in young children.
Nipuna is passionate about using smartphones as a medium to improve people’s health and looks forward to exploring the potential of ‘mHealth’ interventions while at NeuRA.
Injury is the leading cause of death and hospitalization among Australian children. Nationally, infants <12 months have the highest rates of death due to injury among all children and an injury hospitalisation rate of 799/100,000 population. Falls represent the leading cause of injury hospitalisations, accounting for almost 50% of hospitalised injury in this age group and an emergency department presentation rate of 3500/100,000. Most falls among these children are from short heights (<1m), and occur in the child’s home. Around 80% of infants <12months admitted to hospital after a fall have sustained a head injury, with approximately 1/3 sustaining traumatic brain injury (TBI). Despite the widespread nature of this problem and the potential for lifelong impact, recent compilation of evidence for effective child injury prevention interventions show there is no evidence, worldwide, for any effective countermeasures. Moreover, there are currently no formal, targeted measures in place to prevent falls in infants <12 months in Australia. There is a global need to identify effective ways to reduce the burden associated with falls among this population.
As a solution, we are developing a digital intervention as a mobile app based on behaviour theory, targeting knowledge, behaviour and home environment of new parents in the first 12 months of a child’s life.
BIANCA ALBANESE Research Assistant
CHRIS MULLIGAN Masters Student