6 September 2023

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is seeking the views of early childhood educators, parents, carers, and experts in public health, environmental health, food safety and infectious disease as part of a review of the Staying healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services resource.

Infections are common and often lead to illness. Staying Healthy is a best-practice resource that provides simple and effective ways for education and care providers to help limit the spread of illness and infectious diseases in their service environment.

CEO of NHMRC, Professor Steve Wesselingh says it is one of the most widely used NHMRC publications and informs standards for early childhood education and care services across Australia.

"Staying Healthy provides advice to everyone working in early childhood education and care services – including providers, service leaders, educators and other staff – as well as parents and carers, to help minimise the spread of illness and infections,"

“It is not possible to prevent all infections in education and care services. However, by using the strategies outlined in this updated edition, we hope that we can prevent many infectious diseases and control their spread.” said Professor Wesselingh.

The national consultation opening today will review the sixth edition of Staying Healthy, developed by the Staying Healthy Advisory Committee, which updates and builds on the advice provided in the fifth edition.

Committee members with expertise in child health, infectious disease, microbiology, public health, general practice, environmental health, the administration, regulation and staffing of the early childhood education sector were involved.

The key changes in this edition include updated advice on hand hygiene and excluding people who are sick. Five key practice recommendations which reference and complement guidance throughout the resource were also included, alongside new and updated fact sheets for symptoms and specific conditions.

The consultation provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to share their views on the sixth edition of Staying Healthy to ensure the resources is relevant and helpful to the stakeholders who will access it. The final version is expected to be published mid-2024.

All submissions can be made online up until Sunday 15 October 2023 17:00 AEDT, will be considered.

More information, including the draft sixth edition of Staying Healthy, is available on NHMRC’s consultation hub.


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