Plea for more health study participants

THE Hazelwood Health Study's Adult Survey closes recruitment at midnight next Tuesday, January 31.

The Monash-led study team has commended the thousands of Morwell and Sale residents who have participated in the survey so far, and urged those who have not yet returned their questionnaires to do so before the deadline.

The adult survey is the largest component of the long-term study looking at the potential long-term health impacts of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire.

More than 4000 residents across Morwell and Sale have completed the study, however the study team hopes to boost that number.

Chief investigator Professor Judi Walker said last minute replies would be just as important to the study as those already received.

"We really value each questionnaire that is completed," she said.

"It is so important that as many eligible residents as possible support this study before the opportunity is lost.

"While the study's key aim is to collect evidence about the true health impact of the mine fire, it will also inform governments about future health service planning needs across the whole of Gippsland," she said.

Anyone who may have lost their mailed invitation is asked to phone the study team on 1800 985 899 or pick-up a survey pack from Latrobe Community Health Service in Sale, local GP clinics, Wellington Shire Council, Sale library or Sale Neighbourhood House.

People participate in the adult survey will be compensated for their time with a $20 Shop in Sale E-voucher or a $20 Latrobe City Gift Card, redeemable at a wide range of local businesses.

Professor Walker said 2017 would be a significant year for the Hazelwood Health Study.

"We will be releasing early research results to the community," she said.

"The data already collected from participants is being carefully analysed and merged with CSIRO air quality data to measure the impact of the smoke on community health."

In the coming months, selected adult survey participants and all infant study participants will be invited to attend clinics to have their cardiovascular and respiratory health examined as the next Hazelwood Health Study research streams are rolled out.

School children will be invited to the follow-up of the schools study.


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