This paper describes the establishment of the Gudaga Study, an Aboriginal birth cohort in south-west Sydney, and our approach to follow-up of participants. The Study describes the health, development, and services use of Aboriginal infants and their mothers. The research team works closely with the local Aboriginal community to implement the research.
All mothers in the maternity ward of an urban hospital were surveyed to identify mothers with an Aboriginal infant. These and some additional mothers identified through other networks were recruited to the study.
The number of mothers were surveyed was 2,108. Mothers of Aboriginal infants were younger (25.3 years compared to 28.4 years, p<0.001), less likely to be married (16.1% cf. 58.4%, p<0.001) and to have completed school (63.2% cf. 77.8%, p=0.002) than mothers of non-Aboriginal infants. Of 155 identified mothers of Aboriginal infants, 136 were recruited and 23 through other networks. At 12 months, 85.5% of infants were followed up.
This study, to our knowledge, is the first cohort study of this kind on the eastern seaboard of Australia. The study has strong community support and follow-up, contrary to views that Aboriginal people are reluctant to participate in research. These data have national and regional significance.