Location Australian National University, Department of Global Health, Research School of Population Health
App. deadline Applications accepted year round/until filled
  • Please enquire for further details
Eligibility Open to international applicants

Reducing soil-transmitted helminth (STH) disease burden in resource limited environments

PhD opportunity in Global Health and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

Reducing soil-transmitted helminth (STH) disease burden in resource limited environments: an investigation into the impact of the ‘BALatrine’ on improving the health and sanitation of local communities in Indonesia.

We have a potential PhD research project in the areas of Global Health and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), which will allow a candidate to develop and apply epidemiological, statistical, health economics and clinical intervention trial approaches. The PhD candidate will have the opportunity to work with leading experts at the Research School of Population Health at the Australian National University (ANU) and international collaborators.

Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are intestinal parasitic nematode worms, causing human disease. Nearly a third of the world’s population is infected with STH mainly in developing or impoverished nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America. They are the most common of the 17 major Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and the most wide-spread and disabling chronic infections globally. STH are of significant public health concern in Indonesia - particularly among school-aged children, who, if infected, suffer from profound physical deficits, including anaemia and malnutrition, stunted growth, reduced fitness and cognitive delays. STHs are intimately connected to poverty, inadequate sanitation and waste disposal, lack of clean water and poor hygiene, as well as limited access to health care and preventive measures through health education. Although the current standard chemotherapy with benzimidazole is considered safe and effective, it is does not prevent re-infection. Additional control measures as part of an integrated approach are required to augment chemotherapy to treat and prevent infection.

The ‘BALatrine’ is a novel, locally designed and culturally appropriate latrine developed specifically for low-resource settings such as rural and refugee communities. This project will investigate the impact of a household-based ‘BALatrine’ and health education intervention in preventing STH infection and childhood morbidity in Indonesia. A full-scale cluster-randomised controlled trial (RCT) will be undertaken in eight rural villages in Wonosobo, a regency located in the central mountainous region of Central Java, with the objective of providing conclusive systematic and scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness, acceptability and cost effectiveness of the 'BALatrine'.

The Australian National University is a world-leading university currently ranked 22nd globally and #1 in Australia (QS World University Rankings 2016/2017). The Department of Global Health at the Research School of Population Health aims to promote and improve the health and wellbeing of populations at the global scale. Our research, with a focus on the Asia Pacific region, investigates the transmission, distribution and control of infectious diseases; and looks at understanding how modernising and globalising lifestyles impact on both physical and mental health. We have a strong multi-disciplinary team of researchers with expertise in Asian studies, biostatistics, community nutrition, economics, epidemiology, health systems, health promotion, infectious diseases, international development, public health, medical anthropology, medicine, social epidemiology, spatial epidemiology, tropical health, veterinary medicine and vital registration.


We seek a highly motivated prospective PhD candidate with an interest in public health and epidemiology.

Keywords: epidemiology, public health, NTDs, clinical intervention trial, health economics, hygiene and sanitation knowledge, attitudes and behavior.

Project enquiries: Associate Professor Darren Gray (RSPH.DGH@anu.edu.au)

Admissions enquiries: RSPH.hdr.sa@anu.edu.au

Please note:

Applications are submitted online at http://applyonline.anu.edu.au/. The application process will detail all entry requirements and the documents you will need to provide, including English Language Entrance requirements. You will note that a requirement for admission onto a PhD at the ANU is an Australian Bachelor Degree with honours or equivalent. It states

 “The minimum qualification requirement for admission to a program for a Doctor of Philosophy or professional doctorate is:

  1. a degree of bachelor with first class honours, or upper second class honours, from an Australian university; or

  2. another qualification that the Delegated Authority is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree mentioned in paragraph (a); or

  3. a combination of qualifications and professional experience that the Delegated Authority is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree mentioned in paragraph (a).

Also note the English Language Requirements that must be met for admission. These can be found here: https://policies.anu.edu.au/ppl/document/ANUP_000408

Please Note: Should this listing mention details of an available scholarship, it is your responsibility to confirm the specifics with the university / institute prior to applyiing. Terms and conditions are in some cases subject to change and are not always reflected immediately within listings.

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

A/Prof Darren Gray