This study examined the risks of adverse perinatal outcomes associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy. Both depression and antidepressant use were independently associated with the risk of adverse perinatal outcomes; however, the risk associated with antidepressants was higher over and above the risk associated with depression. This may reflect the biological effects of antidepressants, greater severity of depression in those treated, or both.

19th October 2019 • comment

A secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) was done to estimate the prevalence and identify factors associated with home childbirth (delivery) among young mothers aged 15-24 years in Nigeria. Findings suggest that young mothers aged 15-24 years had a higher prevalence of home delivery than the national average for all women of reproductive age in Nigeria.

19th October 2019 • comment

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) previously found strong evidence that prenatal HIV screening reduced risk of mother-to-child transmission. The previous evidence review was conducted in 2012. Findings suggest that combination ART was highly effective at reducing risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Use of certain ART regimens during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of harms that may be mitigated by selection of ART regimen. The 2012 review found that avoidance of breastfeeding and cesarean delivery in women with viremia also reduced risk of transmission and that prenatal screening accurately diagnosed HIV infection.

2nd July 2019 • comment

The authors aimed to investigate whether antibiotic prophylaxis prevented maternal infection after operative vaginal birth. In a blinded, randomised controlled trial done at 27 UK obstetric units, women (aged ≥16 years) were allocated to receive a single dose of intravenous amoxicillin and clavulanic acid or placebo (saline) following operative vaginal birth at 36 weeks gestation or later. The primary outcome was confirmed or suspected maternal infection within 6 weeks of delivery defined by a new prescription of antibiotics for specific indications, confirmed systemic infection on culture, or endometritis. This trial shows benefit of a single dose of prophylactic antibiotic after operative vaginal birth and guidance from WHO and other national organisations should be changed to reflect this.

2nd July 2019 • comment

Lack of safe, affordable, medically indicated caesarean delivery is a primary contributor to global health inequity. In low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), it perpetuates preventable morbidity and mortality caused by prolonged or obstructed labour.  Adequate intervention alone would avert 1 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), with a median benefit-to-cost ratio of 6·0 at US$304 per DALY averted, reflecting an eradicable burden of disease that undermines sustainable development, economic growth, and human rights.

11th June 2019 • comment

The authors conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate progesterone, as compared with placebo, in women with vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy. The findings suggest that among women with bleeding in early pregnancy, progesterone therapy administered during the first trimester did not result in a significantly higher incidence of live births than placebo.

13th May 2019 • comment

Association of Gestational Weight Gain With Adverse Maternal and Infant Outcomes

by LifeCycle Project-Maternal Obesity and Childhood Outcomes Study Group

The objective of the study was to examine the association of ranges of gestational weight gain with risk of adverse maternal and infant outcomes and estimate optimal gestational weight gain ranges across prepregnancy body mass index categories. Individual participant-level meta-analysis using data from 196 670 participants within 25 cohort studies from Europe and North America (main study sample) was conducted. In this meta-analysis of pooled individual participant data from 25 cohort studies, the risk for adverse maternal and infant outcomes varied by gestational weight gain and across the range of prepregnancy weights. The estimates of optimal gestational weight gain may inform prenatal counseling; however, the optimal gestational weight gain ranges had limited predictive value for the outcomes assessed.

13th May 2019 • comment

The objective of this study was to assess the effect of 2-way short message service (SMS) with a nurse on postpartum contraceptive use among individual women and couples. The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial at 2 public hospitals in western Kenya. Findings suggest that the two-way SMS with a nurse, including optional male participation, increased postpartum contraceptive use.

13th May 2019 • comment

Using data from a large sample of commercially insured women, the authors sought to assess whether there was an increase in long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) utilization among commercially insured women during the 30 days after the election, compared with the 30 days before the election and the same period in 2015.

11th February 2019 • comment

The aim of the study was to investigate if there is an inherited predisposition to stillbirth transmitted from mother to daughter. The findings suggest that among the daughters, 384 had a history of one or more stillbirths (cases) while 26,404 only ever had livebirths (controls). We found no statistically significant association between mothers' history of stillbirth (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) 0.63; 95% CI 0.24-1.63) or miscarriage (aOR 1.01; 95% CI 0.71-1.42) and stillbirth in daughters.

11th February 2019 • comment

The authors examined data from four cross-sectional surveys with 3625 women aged 15-49 years who had recently given birth in Kenya, Ghana, and India (surveys were done from August, 2016, to October, 2017). Fndings suggest that regardless of the setting, women are not getting adequate PCMC. Efforts are needed to improve the quality of facility-based maternity care.

14th January 2019 • comment

Using a national registration system of maternal mortality at the county level, the authors estimated the maternal mortality ratios for 2852 counties in China between 1996 and 2015. Findings suggest that in the past two decades, maternal mortality ratios have reduced rapidly and universally across China at the county level. Fast improvement in maternal mortality ratios is possible even in less economically developed places with resource constraints. This finding has important implications for improving maternal mortality ratios in developing countries in the Sustainable Development Goal era.

14th January 2019 • comment

The conducted a scoping review of indicators proposed by global multi-stakeholder groups to suggest next steps to further support maternal and newborn measurement and monitoring. The authors identified 140 indicators linked to maternal and newborn health topics across the continuum of service provision. Fifty-five indicators relate to inputs and processes, 30 indicators relate to outputs, outcomes comprise 37 indicators in the database, and 18 impact indicators. A quarter of indicators proposed by global groups is either under development/discussion or is considered "aspirational", highlighting the currently evolving monitoring landscape. Although considerable efforts have been made to harmonize indicator recommendations, there are still relatively few indicators shared across key monitoring initiatives and some of those that are shared may have definitional variation.

1st January 2019 • comment

HIV-exposed but uninfected (HEU) infants are at an increased risk of many infectious diseases that can contribute to the high mortality seen among HEU children. Maternal immunisation could be a promising strategy to reduce infections in HEU infants. However, very little research has explored the effect of HIV on the immunogenicity and effectiveness of vaccines given during pregnancy. The authors reviewed the available evidence on maternal immunisation among women living with HIV (WLWH) for all vaccines recommended, considered, or being investigated for routine or risk-based use during pregnancy. Of the 11 vaccines included, only three have been investigated in WLWH. Available evidence suggests that maternal HIV infection limits the immunogenicity of several vaccines, leaving HEU infants more susceptible to infection during their first few months of life. Whether maternal immunisation reduces the infectious morbidity and mortality associated with infectious diseases in HEU children remains unknown.

17th December 2018 • comment

The study authors did a multicountry analysis of data from nationally representative Service Provision Assessment surveys done between 2007 to 2017 in ten countries across three regions (Bangladesh, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda). Findings suggest that there are critical gaps in the provision of post-abortion care at all facilities that offer delivery services. In seven (70%) of ten countries, less than 10% of primary-level facilities could provide basic post-abortion care, and in eight (80%) of ten countries less than 40% of referral-level facilities could provide comprehensive post-abortion care. In no country could all referral facilities provide all the essential services that need to be included in basic post-abortion care. Increasing the provision of good-quality post-abortion care is essential to reduce the level of abortion-related morbidity and mortality.

17th December 2018 • comment

the authors compared the efficacy and safety of detoxification from opioids compared with opioid replacement therapy (ORT) during pregnancy. indings suggest an increased risk of relapse with detoxification treatment compared with ORT; however, detoxification does not alter the risk of preterm birth or neonatal abstinece syndrome. Further studies should confirm our findings and explore mechanisms to fight the current opioid epidemic.

16th October 2018 • comment

The GAPD is a comprehensive tool that can be used to strengthen knowledge, inform law and policy research to generate evidence on the impact of laws and policies in practice, and facilitate greater awareness of the many challenges to creating enabling policy environments for safe abortion.

2nd October 2018 • comment

The study draws on Demographic and Health Survey data from five countries where three surveys are available since 1990, with the most recent after 2006. It examines trends in adolescent births by wealth status and urban/rural residence. The study draws on Demographic and Health Survey data from five countries where three surveys are available since 1990, with the most recent after 2006. It examines trends in adolescent births by wealth status and urban/rural residence.

10th September 2018 • comment

The World Health Organization has developed a multistep approach to health inequality monitoring consisting of: (i) determining the scope of monitoring; (ii) obtaining data; (iii) analysing data; (iv) reporting results; and (v) implementing changes. This paper presents some technical considerations for developing or strengthening health inequality monitoring, with the aim of encouraging more robust, systematic and transparent practices. It discusses key aspects of measuring health inequalities that are relevant to steps (i) and (iii). 

10th September 2018 • comment

This systematic review aimed to offer insight and understanding, through aggregation, summary, synthesis and interpretation of findings from studies that report obstetricians’ and midwives’ views on the factors that influence the decision to perform caesarean section. This systematic review and metasynthesis identified clinicians’ personal beliefs as a major factor that influenced the decision to perform caesarean section, further contributed by the influence of factors related to the health care system and clinicians’ characteristics. Obstetricians and midwives are directly involved in the decision to perform a caesarean section, hence their perspectives are vital in understanding various factors that have influence on decision-making for caesarean section. These results can help clinicians identify and acknowledge their role as crucial members in the decision-making process for caesarean section within their organisation, and to develop intervention studies to reduce caesarean section rates in future. 

14th August 2018 • comment
10th August 2018 • comment

The aim of this study was to determine whether an intervention designed to involve the male partners of pregnant women in Burkina Faso in facility-based maternity care influences care-seeking and healthy practices after childbirth. The hypothesis was that the intervention would increase postnatal care attendance, the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and the use of postpartum contraception. Findings suggest that the intervention to involve male partners in maternity care was associated with an increase in attendance at postnatal care consultations, in the duration of exclusive breastfeeding and in the use of postpartum contraception, especially long-acting, reversible contraception. The intervention also had a positive effect on communication between the couple and shared decision-making related to reproductive health. 

10th July 2018 • comment

This large trial compared a novel formulation of heat-stable carbetocin with oxytocin. The study enrolled women across 23 sites in 10 countries in a randomized, double-blind, noninferiority trial comparing intramuscular injections of heat-stable carbetocin (at a dose of 100 μg) with oxytocin (at a dose of 10 IU) administered immediately after vaginal birth. Findings suggest that heat-stable carbetocin was noninferior to oxytocin for the prevention of blood loss of at least 500 ml or the use of additional uterotonic agents. Noninferiority was not shown for the outcome of blood loss of at least 1000 ml; low event rates for this outcome reduced the power of the trial.

10th July 2018 • comment

Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to numerous adverse health consequences for both the developing fetus and mother. This study estimated the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy by country, WHO region, and globally and the proportion of pregnant women who smoked during pregnancy, by frequency and quantity, on a global level. The findings suggest that smoking during pregnancy is still a prevalent behaviour in many countries. These findings should inform smoking prevention programmes and health promotion strategies, as well as draw attention to the need for improved access to smoking cessation programmes for pregnant women.

12th June 2018 • comment

For every woman who dies during pregnancy and childbirth, many more suffer ill-health, the burden of which is highest in low-resource settings. The study sought to assess the extent and types of maternal morbidity. Findings from this study suggests that women suffer significant ill-health which is still largely unrecognised. Current antenatal and postnatal care packages require adaptation if they are to meet the identified health needs of women.

12th June 2018 • comment

The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of a World Health Organization Safe Childbirth Checklist coaching-based intervention (BetterBirth Program) on availability and procurement of essential childbirth-related supplies. Implementation of the BetterBirth Program, incorporating supply availability, resulted in modest improvements with catch-up by control facilities by 12 months. Supply-chain coaching may be most beneficial in sites starting with lower supply availability. Efforts are needed to reduce reliance on patient-funding for some critical medications.

14th May 2018 • comment

This study aims to investigate the effect of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) on the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Seven cohort studies with 3,417,020 pregnant women including 14,146 incident CVD events were retrieved. In the pooled analysis, women with previous GDM had a higher risk of CVD than those without.

2nd May 2018 • comment

Antenatal care (ANC) provides a critical opportunity for women and babies to benefit from good-quality maternal care. Using 10 countries as an illustrative analysis, this study described ANC coverage (number of visits and timing of first visit) and operationalised indicators for content of care as available in population surveys, and examined how these two approaches are related. Findings suggest that even among women with patterns of care that complied with global recommendations, the content of care was poor. Efficient and effective action to improve care quality relies on development of suitable content of care indicators.

2nd May 2018 • comment

Active management of the third stage of labor (AMTSL) describes interventions with the common goal to prevent postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). A systematic search was conducted in five databases in September 2015 to identify intervention studies of AMTSL implemented by unskilled birth attendants or pregnant women themselves. Task shifting of AMTSL has thus far been evaluated for administration of uterotonics (misoprostol tablets and oxytocin injected by CHWs and auxiliary midwives) and resulted in reduction of PPH, high rates of appropriate use and satisfaction among users.

19th February 2018 • comment

This study determines the effect of the policy to remove user fees on institutional delivery in a population-based sample of women from urban Kenya. Multivariate findings show that women were significantly more likely to deliver at a public facility as compared to a private facility after the policy. Among the poor, the results show that poor women were significantly more likely to deliver in a public facility compared to home or a private facility after policy change.

11th January 2018 • comment

This study aims to investigate the impact of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) on the long-term risks of diabetes in women with prior GDM, including the effect at different time periods after GDM. Thirty cohort studies with 2,626,905 pregnant women were included. Women with prior GDM had 7.76-fold (95% confidence intervals: 5.10–11.81) unadjusted pooled risk of diabetes as compared with women without GDM, whilst the adjusted risk was 17.92-fold (16.96–18.94). The adjusted ORs of GDM for diabetes among women at <3, ≥3 – <6 and ≥6 – <10 years after GDM were 5.37 (3.51–9.34), 16.55 (16.08–17.04) and 8.20 (4.53–14.86), respectively. Women with prior GDM had substantially increased risk of diabetes, with the risk highest during the 3–6 years after GDM.

11th January 2018 • comment

The aim of this review was to assess the scope of the published literature on the consequences of maternal morbidity on health-related functioning at the global level and identify key substantive findings as well as research and methodological gaps. Many assessments have not been comprehensive and have paid little attention to important functioning domains for pregnant and postpartum women. The development of a comprehensive instrument specific to maternal health would greatly advance our understanding of burden of ill health associated with maternal morbidity and help set priorities. The lack of attention to consequences on functioning associated with the main direct obstetric complications is of particular concern.

17th July 2017 • comment

Women’s childbirth experience can have immediate as well as long-term positive or negative effects on their life, well-being and health. When evaluating and drawing conclusions from research results, women’s experiences of childbirth should be one aspect to consider. Researchers and clinicians need help in finding and selecting the most suitable instrument for their purpose. The aim of this study was therefore to systematically identify and present validated instruments measuring women’s childbirth experience. This systematic review provides an overview of existing instruments measuring women’s childbirth experiences and can support researchers to identify appropriate instruments to be used, and maybe adapted, in their specific contexts and research purpose.

17th July 2017 • comment

In 2012, the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) produced a chart detailing recommended dosages of misoprostol when used alone, for a variety of obstetric and gynecologic indications. In light of new evidence and through expert deliberation, this chart has now been revised and expanded. The present commentary explain the changes and the decisions made. 

17th July 2017 • comment

This paper explores predictors of retention of antenatal care clients in skilled birth attendance across Africa, including sociodemographic factors and quality of antenatal care received. Higher quality of ANC predicts retention in SBA in Africa. Improving quality of skilled care received prenatally may increase client retention during delivery, reducing maternal mortality.

14th June 2017 • comment

There is a need for a clear and actionable definition of maternal sepsis, in order to better assess the burden of this condition, trigger timely and effective treatment and allow comparisons across facilities and countries. The objective of this study was to review maternal sepsis definitions and identification criteria and to report on the results of an expert consultation to develop a new international definition of maternal sepsis. The operationalization of the new maternal sepsis definition requires generation of a set of practical criteria to identify women with sepsis. These criteria should enable clinicians to focus on the timely initiation of actionable elements of care (administration of antimicrobials and fluids, support of vital organ functions, and referral) and improve maternal outcomes.

14th June 2017 • comment

The review revealed examples of mistreatment of newborns in six of the seven categories. Common occurrences were failure to meet a professional standard of care, stigma and discrimination, and health system constraints. Many instances of mistreatment of newborns related to neglect and non-consented care rather than outright physical or verbal abuse. Two additional categories were also identified for newborns related to legal accountability and bereavement care.

2nd June 2017 • comment

This article reviews the literature on research on FGM/C in Australia, which focuses on health system response to women and girls with FGM/C. Recommendations are made for policy reform in health, legislation, and community programs to provide the best healthcare, protect children, and help communities abandon this harmful practice.  Findings suggest that countries of migration can be part of the solution for abandonment of FGM/C through community interventions and implementation of national and coordinated training in FGM/C of experts involved in the care and protection of children and women. The global focus on collaboration on research, training and prevention programs should be fostered between countries of FGM/C prevalence and migration.

2nd June 2017 • comment

Access to quality obstetric care is considered essential to reducing maternal and new-born mortality. The authors evaluated the effect of the introduction of a multifaceted voluntary health insurance programme on hospital deliveries in rural Nigeria. Voluntary health insurance combined with quality healthcare services is highly effective in increasing hospital deliveries in rural Nigeria, by improving access to healthcare for insured and uninsured women in the programme area.

19th April 2017 • comment

This short film shows the impact of the CHAPAS trial on patient health and future possibilities of a small boy from Malawi.

14th March 2017 • comment

To inform policy, the authors explore the association between transitions into poverty and subsequent mental health among children and their mothers. In a contemporary UK cohort, first transition into income poverty during early childhood was associated with an increase in the risk of child and maternal mental health problems. These effects were independent of changes in employment status. Transitions to income poverty do appear to affect children's life chances and actions that directly reduce income poverty of children are likely to improve child and maternal mental health.

13th March 2017 • comment

This is a great video of a talk given at the Oxford Martin School by Professor Kevin Marsh.

10th March 2017 • comment

WHO made it a high priority to provide the present fetal growth charts for estimated fetal weight (EFW) and common ultrasound biometric measurements intended for worldwide use. This study provides WHO fetal growth charts for EFW and common ultrasound biometric measurements, and shows variation between different parts of the world.

10th February 2017 • comment

This is a population-based linkage study of 979,912 term singleton pregnancies in Scotland, United Kingdom, between 1992 and 2010. At term, birth weight remains strongly associated with the risk of stillbirth and infant death and neonatal morbidity. Partial customisation does not improve prediction performance. Consideration of early term delivery or closer surveillance for those with a predicted birth weight ≤25th or ≥85th centile may reduce adverse outcomes. Replication of the analysis with fully customised centiles accounting for ethnicity is warranted.

1st February 2017 • comment

AREF is calling for researcher applications to participate in its 2nd Essential Grant Writing Skills Workshop, to be held in Dakar, Senegal, in May 2017.

19th December 2016 • comment

Soil-transmitted helminthiasis and schistosomiasis, considered among the neglected tropical diseases by WHO, affect more than a third of the world's population, with varying intensity of infection. The authors aimed to evaluate the effects of mass deworming for soil-transmitted helminths (with or without deworming for schistosomiasis or co-interventions) on growth, educational achievement, cognition, school attendance, quality of life, and adverse effects in children in endemic helminth areas. Mass deworming for soil-transmitted helminths with or without deworming for schistosomiasis had little effect. For schistosomiasis, mass deworming might be effective for weight but is probably ineffective for height, cognition, and attendance. Future research should assess which subset of children do benefit from mass deworming, if any, using individual participant data meta-analysis.

15th December 2016 • comment

The Good Clinical Practices (GCP) codes of the WHO and the International Conference of Harmonization set international standards for clinical research. But critics argue that they were written without consideration for the challenges faced in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

17th November 2016 • comment

The authors did a systematic review and meta-analysis of model predictions of the long-term population-level effectiveness of vaccination against HPV 16, 18, 6, and 11 infection in women and men, to examine the variability in predicted herd effects, incremental benefit of vaccinating boys, and potential for HPV-vaccine-type elimination. Although HPV models differ in structure, data used for calibration, and settings, our population-level predictions were generally concordant and suggest that strong herd effects are expected from vaccinating girls only, even with coverage as low as 20%. Elimination of HPV 16, 18, 6, and 11 is possible if 80% coverage in girls and boys is reached and if high vaccine efficacy is maintained over time.

17th November 2016 • comment

The momentum to bring adolescents and young adults to center stage in global health and international development is palpable. Adolescents are increasingly seen as a crucial group for the success of the newly adopted Agenda for Sustainable Development. The recent supplement in the "Journal of Adolescent Health" titled "Interventions to Address Adolescent Health and Well-Being: Current State of the Evidence" focuses on evaluating the effectiveness of various interventions targeting adolescent age group including sexual reproductive health, nutrition, immunisation, substance abuse, menatl health and injury prevention.

15th November 2016 • comment

This study aimed to quantify maternal mortality throughout the world by underlying cause and age from 1990 to 2015. Several challenges to improving reproductive health lie ahead in the SDG era. Countries should establish or renew systems for collection and timely dissemination of health data; expand coverage and improve quality of family planning services, including access to contraception and safe abortion to address high adolescent fertility; invest in improving health system capacity, including coverage of routine reproductive health care and of more advanced obstetric care—including EmOC; adapt health systems and data collection systems to monitor and reverse the increase in indirect, other direct, and late maternal deaths, especially in high SDI locations; and examine their own performance with respect to their SDI level, using that information to formulate strategies to improve performance and ensure optimum reproductive health of their population.

11th October 2016 • comment

Antenatal corticosteroids are commonly used to reduce neonatal mortality, but most research to date has been in high-resource settings and few studies have evaluated its impact on stillbirth. In the Antenatal Corticosteroids Trial (ACT), a multi-country trial to assess impact of a multi-faceted intervention including antenatal corticosteroids to reduce neonatal mortality associated with preterm birth, we found an overall increase in 28-day neonatal mortality and stillbirth associated with the intervention.

10th September 2016 • comment

This study aims to determine the prevalence of non-violent forms of gender-based household maltreatment by husbands and in-laws (GBHM), and violence from in-laws (ILV) and husbands (IPV) against women during the peripregnancy period (during and in the year prior to pregnancy); to assess relative associations of GBHM, ILV and IPV with maternal health. After adjusting for ILV and IPV, peripregnancy GBHM remained significantly associated with multiple forms of maternal morbidity, suggesting that GBHM is a prevalent and reliable indicator of maternal health risk.

10th September 2016 • comment

Children with complicated severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have a greatly increased risk of mortality from infections while in hospital and after discharge. In HIV-infected children, mortality and admission to hospital are prevented by daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, despite locally reported bacterial resistance to co-trimoxazole. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis on survival in children without HIV being treated for complicated SAM. This study suggest that daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis did not reduce mortality in children with complicated SAM without HIV. Other strategies need to be tested in clinical trials to reduce deaths in this population.

13th July 2016 • comment

After the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan experienced a tumultuous period of democracy overshadowed by conflict, widespread insurgency, and an inflow of development assistance. Although there have been several cross-sectional assessments of health gains over the last decade, there has been no systematic analysis of progress and factors influencing maternal and child health in Afghanistan. Despite conflict and poverty, Afghanistan has made reasonable progress in its reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health indicators over the last decade based on contributions of factors within and outside the health sector. However, equitable access to health care remains a challenge and present delivery models have high transactional costs, affecting sustainability.

18th May 2016 • comment

Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases have evolved rapidly in recent decades as outbreaks such as SARS, Avian Influenza, Ebola, MERS, Chikungunya, and Zika virus have demonstrated how quickly infections can cross international borders.

18th March 2016 • comment

Public Health Degrees.org is a comprehensive search engine designed for students who are interested in learning more about Public Health and Health Sciences programs around the United States.

14th March 2016 • comment

The objective of the study was to develop maternal, fetal, and neonatal composite outcomes relevant to the evaluation of diet and lifestyle interventions in pregnancy by individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis.A two-generational Delphi survey involving members of the i–WIP collaborative network (26 members in 11 countries) was undertaken to prioritise the individual outcomes for their importance in clinical care. The final components of the composite outcomes were identified using pre-specified criteria. The study has identified the components of maternal, fetal, and neonatal composite outcomes required for the assessment of diet and lifestyle interventions in pregnancy by IPD meta-analysis.

19th February 2016 • comment

The Zika virus is another wild card dealt to us by nature. It was first discovered in 1947.

17th February 2016 • comment

Video seminar by Chelsea McMullen, Operational Support Officer, International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC), presented at the University of Oxford, 21st October 2015

16th February 2016 • comment

Quality of care assessment is one of the ways of evaluating what the health system is providing, however, such monitoring depends on an ability to measure quality with the availability of high quality data.

11th February 2016 • comment

Malaria remains a major global health threat. In the last fifteen years there has been remarkable progress in reducing cases and deaths due to malaria.

14th January 2016 • comment

Damalie Nakanjako (MBChB, MMED, PhD) is an internist whose work focuses on optimizing HIV treatment outcomes and reducing HIV-associated morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.

14th December 2015 • comment

New articles from the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM).

13th November 2015 • comment

Professor Lang talks about doing difficult trials in difficult places - including malaria and ebola trials.

19th October 2015 • comment

Difficulties in behaviour and communication are core problems in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and often cause the most stress to parents and families living in resource poor areas of Africa.

19th October 2015 • comment

The first international stnadards for monitroing the growth of preterm babies have now been published in the Lancet Global Health (October 2015). 

14th October 2015 • comment

Men in their roles as fathers, husbands, community and religious leaders may play a pivotal part in the continuation of female genital mutilation (FGM). However, the research on their views of FGM and their potential role in its abandonment are not well described. This systematic review suggests that the level of education of men was one of the most important indicators for men’s support for abandonment of FGM. Social obligation and the lack of dialogue between men and women were two key issues that men acknowledged as barriers to abandonment. Advocacy by men and collaboration between men and women’s health and community programs may be important steps forward in the abandonment process.

13th October 2015 • comment

This paper presents a review of the available evidence on the effectiveness of community-based health interventions to improve the reproductive health status of young married couples in LMICs. Review suggests that multi-layered community-based interventions, targeting young married women, their families and the health system can improve utilization of reproductive health services among young couples in resource-constrained settings. The paper emphasizes the need for further research to fill the knowledge gaps that exist about improving utilization of reproductive healthcare services, especially safe abortion care among young married women in LMICs.

13th October 2015 • comment

The articles in this collection examine the evidence and the thinking that form the basis of the new global strategy.

17th September 2015 • comment

This study focuses on reduction of needle stick injuries in Indraprstha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi.

19th August 2015 • comment

New INTERGROWTH-21st Fetal Growth Standards charts for measurements of head circumference (HC), bi-parietal diameter (BPD), occipito-frontal diameter (OFD), femur length (FL) and abdominal circumference (AC) are now available for download.

18th August 2015 • comment

Systematic reviews involving the central collection and analysis of individual participant data (IPD) usually are larger-scale, international, collaborative projects that can bring about substantial improvements to the quantity and quality of data, give greater scope in the analyses, and provide more detailed and robust results. Following this step-by-step guide will help reviewers and users of IPD meta-analyses to understand them better and recognise those that are well designed and conducted and so help ensure that policy, practice, and research are informed by robust evidence about the effects of interventions.

11th August 2015 • comment

Girls' and women's health is in transition and, although some aspects of it have improved substantially in the past few decades, there are still important unmet needs. Population ageing and transformations in the social determinants of health have increased the coexistence of disease burdens related to reproductive health, nutrition, and infections, and the emerging epidemic of chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Simultaneously, worldwide priorities in women's health have themselves been changing from a narrow focus on maternal and child health to the broader framework of sexual and reproductive health and to the encompassing concept of women's health, which is founded on a life-course approach.      

15th July 2015 • comment

The objective of this study was to examine associations between a range of objectively measured and questionnaire-based SB indicators with obesity and body mass index (BMI) to assess whether these associations were independent of physical activity. TV time (but not non-TV sitting or objectively-measured SB) was consistently associated with higher levels of obesity and BMI SD score, even after adjusting for MVPA and other potential confounders. Weaker associations were observed for total sitting time.        

19th June 2015 • comment

In June 2015, FHI 360 launched two new resources designed to increase access to information about contraceptive research and development (R&D) and to promote global knowledge sharing.

16th June 2015 • comment

Fetal Growth Standards for ultrasound measurements of head circumference (HC), bi-parietal diameter (BPD), occipito-frontal diameter (OFD), femur length (FL) and abdominal circumference (AC) are now available for download. For information about how to perform these measurements, or for other information on standards in ultrasound imaging, please see the ultrasound training toolkit.

11th June 2015 • comment

In this video of a seminar delivered at the University of Oxford in June 2014, Professor Nicholas White talks about the challenge of antimalarial resistance.

11th June 2015 • comment

The objective of this systematic review is to investigate the changes in the prevalence of stunting, a chronic form of undernutrition, in South Africa over 40 years, and to derive lessons from the South African experience, a country in an advanced process of transition in sub-Saharan Africa.        

11th June 2015 • comment

Intestinal parasitic infections are highly endemic among school-aged children in resource-limited settings. To lower their impact, preventive measures should be implemented that are sustainable with available resources. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of handwashing with soap and nail clipping on the prevention of intestinal parasite reinfections.        

11th June 2015 • comment

Evidences about unmet need for family planning and associated factors are not enough in Dangila town. Therefore, this study was done to assess the magnitude and determinants of unmet need for family planning among currently married women in Dangila town. Findings suggest that the level of unmet need for family planning in the study area is still high compared to the target set (10 %) in the national family planning guide plan of Ethiopia to be achieved by the end of 2015. Therefore, it is important to strengthen counseling and partner involvement in Dangila town to reduce unmet need for family planning.      

18th May 2015 • comment

Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness is among the key interventions that can reduce maternal mortality. Despite this, its status in Tanzania is not well documented. The authors assessed the practice and determinants of Birth preparedness and complication readiness among recently delivered women in Chamwino district, Central Tanzania. Findings suggest that the proportion of women who prepared for birth and its complications were found to be low. District reproductive and child health coordinator should emphasis on early and frequent antenatal care visits, since they were among predictors of birth preparedness and complication readiness.      

18th May 2015 • comment

New Public Management (public sector reforms which draw on business ideology) are increasingly seen in African ministries of health. This talk concentrates on the effects of NPM reform on Ethiopian hospitals and how efforts to be 'more business-like' have many unintended consequences for hospitals and patients.

15th May 2015 • comment

Professor Bongani M Mayosi from the Department of Medicine, Groote Schuur Hospital & University of Cape Town describes the transofmation of the science cohort in South Africa.

14th May 2015 • comment

Professor Mike English explains how KEMRI-Wellcome are ''working with government to generate patient level data from a network of Kenyan hospitals as a platform for research'.

12th May 2015 • comment

Between-hospital variation in outcomes among extremely preterm infants is largely unexplained and may reflect differences in hospital practices regarding the initiation of active lifesaving treatment as compared with comfort care after birth. Differences in hospital practices regarding the initiation of active treatment in infants born at 22, 23, or 24 weeks of gestation explain some of the between-hospital variation in survival and survival without impairment among such patients.      

12th May 2015 • comment

A review of e-health interventions for maternal and child health (MCH) to explore their influence on MCH practices in sub-Sahara Africa found a total of 18 relevant articles. Findings suggeswt that there is a need to move the application of ICT for MCH care from pilot initiatives to interventions involving all stakeholders on a sub-regional scale. These interventions should also adopt an integrated approach that takes care of the information needs at every stage along the continuum of care. It is anticipated that the study would be useful in the evolution and implementation of future ICT-based programmes for MCH in the region.

2nd May 2015 • comment

Rigorous and transparent systematic reviews are recognized internationally as a credible source for evidence of effectiveness. However, in the field of nutrition, despite attempts at developing consensus on actions and interventions to reduce undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, there is lack of coordination among various groups. Each of these methodological choices influences the findings of the reviews, and lack of standardization across these domains increases the complexity for users of systematic reviews in interpreting results. There is a need to develop a consensus on methodologies for nutrition reviews, criteria for assessing the evidence and possibly facilitating development and collation of the evidence in the subject area.

14th April 2015 • comment

Despite the close interrelation between these infections and nutrition conditions, key nutrition interventions for prevention of childhood diarrhea and pneumonia have not received deserved attention, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Several interventions and strategies can effectively address these issues but are not available to those in need. This article discusses in detail the burden and trends of global under-5 mortality, infections, and nutrition conditions; etiology and associated risk factors; biological plausibility and the interrelation between infections, nutrition, and growth; and existing interventions and strategies to reduce major childhood infections and improve nutrition and growth and implications.

14th April 2015 • comment

The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of unmet need for family planning among married women using Botswana Family Health Survey 2007 data and to identify risk factors for unmet need for family planning among married women.Findings suggest that the prevalence of unmet need for family planning was low in Botswana compared to other sub-Saharan African countries. The findings from this study reemphasise the importance of women's empowerment and men's involvement in women's sexual and reproductive healthcare needs and services. Different approaches are needed to satisfy the demand for family planning for spacing and limiting.      

1st April 2015 • comment

Gender inequality weakens maternal health and harms children through many direct and indirect pathways. The global impact of Gender Inequality Index (GII) on the child mortality rates remains uncertain. The study authors have documented statistically significant positive associations between GII and child mortality rates. The authors suggest that initiatives to curtail child mortality rates should extend beyond medical interventions and should prioritize women’s rights and autonomy.      

17th March 2015 • comment

Smoking in pregnancy is known to be associated with a range of adverse pregnancy outcomes, yet there is a high prevalence of smoking among pregnant women in many countries, and it remains a major public health concern. The authors have conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to provide contemporary estimates of the association between maternal smoking in pregnancy and the risk of stillbirth. The review findings confirm a dose-response effect of maternal smoking in pregnancy on risk of stillbirth. To minimise the risk of stillbirth, reducing current smoking prevalence in pregnancy should continue to be a key public health high priority.      

17th March 2015 • comment

The methodology of systematic reviews—although laid out three or more decades ago—is continuously and rapidly updated by scientists specializing in research synthesis. Now, Systematic Reviews is publishing a series of articles including methods and examples of accelerating approaches to conducting literature reviews.      

16th January 2015 • comment

The importance of bacterial infections following respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remains unclear. The authors in this study evaluated whether variations in RSV epidemic timing and magnitude are associated with variations in pneumococcal disease epidemics and whether changes in pneumococcal disease following the introduction of seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) were associated with changes in the rate of hospitalizations coded as RSV. These analyses provide evidence for an interaction between RSV and pneumococcal pneumonia. Future work should evaluate whether treatment for secondary bacterial infections could be considered for pneumonia cases even if a child tests positive for RSV.        

12th January 2015 • comment

WHO recommends daily co-trimoxazole for children born to HIV-infected mothers from 6 weeks of age until breastfeeding cessation and exclusion of HIV infection. We have previously reported on the effectiveness of continuation of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis up to age 2 years in these children. We assessed the protective efficacy and safety of prolonging co-trimoxazole prophylaxis until age 4 years in HIV-exposed children.

18th December 2014 • comment

The INTERGROWTH-21st Neurodevelopment Package is a multi-dimensional instrument measuring early childhood development (ECD). Its developmental approach may be useful to those involved in large-scale ECD research and surveillance efforts. This paper describes neurodevelopment tools for preschoolers and the systematic approach leading to the development of the Package. The Package measures vision; cortical auditory processing; and cognition, language skills, behavior, motor skills, and attention in 35-45 minutes. Sleep-wake patterns are also assessed. Tablet-based applications with integrated quality checks and automated, wireless electroencephalography make the Package easy to administer in the field by non-specialist staff. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0113360

1st December 2014 • comment

Maternal mortality has declined by nearly half since 1990, but over a quarter million women still die every year of causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal-health related targets are falling short of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals and a post-2015 Development Agenda is emerging. In connection with this, setting global research priorities for the next decade is now required. The authors in this paper adapted the methods of the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) to identify and set global research priorities for maternal and perinatal health for the period 2015 to 2025.    

1st December 2014 • comment

Inadequate illness recognition and access to antibiotics contribute to high case fatality from infections in young infants (<2 months) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to address three questions regarding access to treatment for young infant infections in LMICs: (1) Can frontline health workers accurately diagnose possible bacterial infection (pBI)?; (2) How available and affordable are antibiotics?; (3) How often are antibiotics procured without a prescription?  

15th October 2014 • comment

Ebola PPE guidelines - urgent need to revise WHO and CDC guidelines. This video shows an excerpt from keynote address 'The fuss about face masks', Professor Raina MacIntyre from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Australia.

14th October 2014 • comment

This series of five papers assesses and summarizes information from relevant systematic reviews on the impact of various approaches to improve the quality of care for women and newborns.

17th September 2014 • comment

Despite the global burden of morbidity and mortality associated with preterm birth, little evidence is available for use of antenatal corticosteroids and tocolytic drugs in preterm births in low-income and middle-income countries. The authors in thsi study analysed data from the WHO Multicountry Survey on Maternal and Newborn Health (WHOMCS) to assess coverage for these interventions in preterm deliveries. Use of interventions was generally poor, despite evidence for their benefit for newborn babies. A substantial proportion of antenatal corticosteroid use occurred at gestational ages at which benefit is controversial, and use of less effective or potentially harmful tocolytic drugs was common. Implementation research and contextualised health policies are needed to improve drug availability and increase compliance with best obstetric practice.

13th September 2014 • comment

The potential for transmission of infectious diseases offered by the school environment are likely to be an important contributor to the rates of infectious disease experienced by children. This study aimed to test whether the addition of hand sanitiser in primary school classrooms compared with usual hand hygiene would reduce illness absences in primary school children in New Zealand. The authors found that the provision of hand sanitiser in addition to usual hand hygiene in primary schools in New Zealand did not prevent disease of severity sufficient to cause school absence.

1st September 2014 • comment

When publishing observational research, what information should journals make available to the medical community before a result can be considered sufficiently reliable to inform patient care or health policy? The PLOS Medicine editors, in recent consultation with our editorial board, endorse measures in four areas to advance transparency in the analysis and reporting of observational studies.

1st September 2014 • comment

While the last several decades have witnessed tremendous advances in cure rates for childhood cancer, these improvements have not translated to low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs), where the majority of children reside. In this article, the authors outline why pediatric cancer should now be considered a global child health priority, describe the need for national childhood cancer strategies (NCCS), and highlight necessary policy components to reduce LMIC pediatric cancer mortality rates.

18th June 2014 • comment

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are widely accepted as the preferred study design for evaluating healthcare interventions. When the sample size is determined, a (target) difference is typically specified that the RCT is designed to detect. This provides reassurance that the study will be informative, i.e., should such a difference exist, it is likely to be detected with the required statistical precision. The aim of this review was to identify potential methods for specifying the target difference in an RCT sample size calculation.

19th May 2014 • comment

Pakistan Food Fortification Scoping Study

by MQSUN and Pakistan food fortification study team

Food fortification is safe and cost-effective in the prevention of micronutrient deficiencies and has been widely practiced in developed countries for well over a century. The findings in this report clearly support the utilization of food fortification strategies at scale, which could build on the recent success of the iodized salt programme. Given the widespread prevalence in Pakistan of deficiencies in iron and in vitamins A and D, food fortification strategies offer a tangible option for delivering these micronutrients on a large scale.

16th May 2014 • comment

Several biomarkers for predicting intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) have been proposed in recent years. However, the predictive performance of these biomarkers has not been systematically evaluated. This objective of this paper is to determine the predictive accuracy of novel biomarkers for IUGR in women with singleton gestations. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23398929

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper assess the intra- and interobserver variability of fetal biometry measurements throughout pregnancy. Authors concluded that although intra- and interobserver variability increases with advancing gestation when expressed in milimeters, both are constant as a percentage of the fetal dimensions or when reported as a Z-score. Thus, measurement variability should be considered when interpreting fetal growth rates.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22535628

15th May 2014 • comment

A comprehensive classification system for preterm birth requires expanded gestational boundaries that recognize the early origins of preterm parturition and emphasize fetal maturity over fetal age. This paper explores the issues to consider in creating a classification system for preterm birth syndrome. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22177186

15th May 2014 • comment

The University of Oxford's Emerging Markets Symposium convened a gathering of health and nutrition experts, leading economists, and policymakers to discuss actionable priorities for improving maternal and child health and nutrition in emerging market countries. Universal adoption of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project's new global indicators at birth to capture differences in population-level nutritional and environmental exposures during pregnancy was one of their recommendations. http://ems.gtc.ox.ac.uk/sites/ems.gtc.ox.ac.uk/files/findings_and_recommendations_ems2014.pdf

15th May 2014 • comment

Source: The Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Oxford and the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research Language: English, Spanish, Russian Overview: This course provides key information on postpartum hemorrhage for health care professionals. It covers basic clinical issues, as well as background information, such as the global burden of postpartum hemorrhage.The course is accompanied by key articles and documents for further reading. Certification is available to those who qualify.

15th May 2014 • comment

Source: The Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Oxford and the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research Language: English, Spanish Overview: Course content includes both a basic module covering critical recommendations on prevention and treatment of pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (PE/E) for those unfamiliar with PE/E, and an advanced version for users interested in learning the evidence behind the recommendations, and is accompanied by key articles and documents for further reading. Certification is available to those who qualify.

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the approach to translating the findings, tools and resources generated by the INTERGROWTH-21st Project into practice. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12416/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

Impaired fetal growth and preterm birth are the leading causes of neonatal and infant mortality worldwide and there is a growing scientific literature suggesting that environmental exposures during pregnancy may play a causal role in these outcomes. This paper describes the creation of a global tool for screening pregnant women for environmental exposures in the Fetal Growth Longitudinal Study, a component of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12430/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project in Seattle, USA. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12126/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project in Oxford, UK. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12033/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project in Muscat, Oman. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12043/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project in Nairobi, Kenya. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12045/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project in Turin, Italy. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12124/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project in Nagpur, India. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12058/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project in Beijing, China. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12044/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper describes the implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project in Pelotas, Brazil. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12046/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

The INTERGROWTH-21st Project presented a complex set of ethical challenges given the involvement of health institutions in geographically and culturally diverse areas of the world, with differing attitudes to pregnancy. This paper addresses how the research team dealt with some of those issues. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12030/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper considers the statistical aspects of the three components of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project - the Fetal Growth Longitudinal Study, the Preterm Postnatal Follow-up Study, and the Newborn Corss-Sectional Study - as they relate to the construction of the INTERGROWTH-21st standards, in particular, the sample size. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12031/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

The INTERGROWTH-21st Project data management was structured incorporating both a centralise and decentralised system for the eight study centres, which all used the same database and standardised data collection instruments, manual and processes. This paper describes the data collection, entry and management processes that ensure that the data collected in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project were of exceptionally high quality. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12080/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

Given the multicentre nature of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project and the expected number of preterm births, it is vital that all centres follow the same standardised clinical care protocols to assess and manage preterm infants, so as to ensure maximum validity of the resulting standards as indicators of growth and nutrition with minimal confounding. Moreover, it is well known that evidence-based clinical practice guidelines can reduce the delivery of inappropriate care and support the introduction of new knowledge into clinical practice. The INTERGROWTH-21st Neonatal Group produced an operations manual, which reflects the consensus reached by members of the group regarding standardised definitions of neonatal morbidities and the minimum standards of care to be provided by all centres taking part in the project. This paper describes the process of developing the Basic Neonatal Care Manual, as well as the morbidity definitions and standardised neonatal care protocols applied across all the INTERGROWTH-21st participating centres. Thoughts about implementation strategies are presented. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12312/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

The INTERGROWTH-21st Project involved taking anthropometric measurements, including head circumference, recumbent length and weight of infants, and the stature and weight of parents. In a large, international, multicentre project, it is critical that all study sites follow standardised protocols to ensure maximal validity of the growth and nutrition indicators used. This paper describes, in detal, the anthropometric training, standardisation and quality control procedures used to collect data for these new standards. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12127/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

The INTERGROWTH-21st Project involved taking anthropometric measurements, including head circumference, recumbent length and weight of infants, and the stature and weight of parents. In a large, international, multicentre project, it is critical that all study sites follow standardised protocols to ensure maximal validity of the growth and nutrition indicators used. This paper describes, in detal, the selection of anthropometric personnel, equipment, measurement and calibration protocols used to construct the new INTERGROWTH-21st standards. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12125/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

Correct estimation of gestational age is essential for any study of ultrasound biometry and for everyday clinical practice. However, inconsistency in pregnancy dating may occur through differences in measurement methods or errors during measurement. This paper describes the standardised crown-rump length (CRL) measurement methodology and interpretation used across study sites in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. These methods should minimise potential systematic errors in dating associated with pooling data drom different health institutions, and represent a model for standardising CRL measurement in future studies. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12056/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

Meticulous standardisation and ongoing monitoring of adherence to measurement protocols during data collection are essential to ensure consistency and to minimise systematic error in multicentre studies. Strict ultrasound fetal biometric measurement protocols are used in the INTERGROWTH-21st Project so that data of the highest quality from different centres can be compared and potentially pooled. A central Ultrasound Quality Unit (USQU) has been set up to oversee this standardisation, training and quality control process. This paper describes the procedures used, which can form a model for research settings involving ultrasound measurements.

15th May 2014 • comment

A unified protocol is essential to ensure that fetal ultrasound measurements taken in multicentre research studies are accurate and reproducible. This paper describes the methodology used to take two-dimensional, ultrasound measurements in the longitudinal, fetal growth component of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. These standardised methods should minimise the systematic errors associated with pooling data from different sites. They represent a model for carrying out similar research studies in the future. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12313/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

This paper outlines the objectives, design and implementation of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project, a multicentre, multiethnic, population-based project conducted in eight geographical areas (Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, UK and USA), with technical support from four global specialised units, to study growth, health and nutrition from pregnancy to early infancy. It aims to produce prescriptive growth standards, which conceptually extend the World Health Organization (WHO) Multicentre Growth Reference Study (MGRS) to cover fetal and newborn life. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12047/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

Healthy growth in utero and after birth is fundamental for lifelong health and wellbeing. Current fetal growth charts in use are not true standards, since they are based on cross-sectional measurements of attained size under conditions that do not accurately reflect normal growth. The development of prescriptive intrauterine and newborn growth standards derived from the INTERGROWTH-21st Project provides the data that will allow us for the first time to establish what 'normal' fetal growth is. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12057/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

Zulfiqar Bhutta, Chair of the INTERGROWTH-21st Steering Committee, introduces the rationale for the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12032/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, President of FIGO, introduces the methods of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.12314/abstract

15th May 2014 • comment

Preterm birth is a syndrome with many causes and phenotypes. We propose a classification system that is based on clinical phenotypes that are defined by >1 characteristics of the mother, the fetus, the placenta, the signs of parturition, and the pathway to delivery. Risk factors and mode of delivery are not included. There are 5 components in a preterm birth phenotype:

  1. Maternal conditions that are present before presentation for delivery,
  2. Fetal conditions that are present before presentation for delivery,
  3. Placental pathologic conditions,
  4. Signs of the initiation of parturition, and,
  5. The pathway to delivery
This system does not force any preterm birth into a predefined phenotype and allows all relevant conditions to become part of the phenotype. Needed data can be collected from the medical records to classify every preterm birth. The classification system will improve understanding of the cause and improve surveillance across populations. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22177191

15th May 2014 • comment

In 2009, the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth Conference charged the authors to propose a new comprehensive, consistent, and uniform classification system for preterm birth. This first article reviews issues related to measurement of gestational age, clinical vs etiologic phenotypes, inclusion vs exclusion of multifetal and stillborn infants, and separation vs combination of pathways to preterm birth. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22118964

15th May 2014 • comment

Being able to predict preterm birth is important, as it may allow a high-risk population to be selected for future interventional studies and help in understanding the pathways that lead to preterm birth. This paper investigates the accuracy of novel biomarkers to predict spontaneous preterm birth in women with singleton pregnancies and no symptoms of preterm labour. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21401853  

15th May 2014 • comment

Reliable ultrasound charts are necessary for the prenatal assessment of fetal size, yet there is a wide variation of methodologies for the creation of such charts. This paper evaluates the methodological quality of studies of fetal biometry using a set of predefined quality criteria of study design, statistical analysis and reporting methods. Eighty-three studies met the inclusion criteria, and although multiple regression analysis shows that quality of studies has improved over time, there is considerable heterogeneity in study methodology still observed today. Standardisation of methodologies is necessary in order to make correct interpretations and comparisons between different charts. A checklist of recommended methodologies in proposed. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22882780

15th May 2014 • comment

The objective of this paper was to assess whether a standardization exercise prior to commencing a fetal growth study involving multiple sonographers can reduce interobserver variation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22411446

14th May 2014 • comment
2nd May 2014 • comment

The proportion of incompletely immunized children in Pakistan varies from 37-58%, and this has recently resulted in outbreaks of measles and polio. The aim of this paper is to determine the factors associated with incomplete immunization among children aged 12-23 months in Pakistan.

13th March 2014 • comment

Good nutrition is important during pregnancy, breastfeeding and early life to optimise the health of women and children. It is difficult for low-income families to prioritise spending on healthy food. Healthy Start is a targeted United Kingdom (UK) food subsidy programme that gives vouchers for fruit, vegetables, milk, and vitamins to low-income families. This paper reports an evaluation of Healthy Start from the perspectives of women and health practitioners.

13th March 2014 • comment

In 2013, the WHO released a new set of guidelines on the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS. The new guidelines suggests that all pregnant women who test positive for HIV should immediately begin a course of triple ARVs, regardless of CD4 cell levels.

19th February 2014 • comment

In this cross sectional survey it is hypothesized that adolescents' perceptions of family support for condom use, would encourage condom use among female students in Limbe urban city of Cameroon.

19th February 2014 • comment

The current difficulties in keeping systematic reviews up to date leads to considerable inaccuracy,  hampering the translation of knowledge into action. Incremental advances in conventional review updating are unlikely to lead to substantial improvements in review currency. A new approach is needed. The authors propose living systematic review as a contribution to evidence synthesis that combines currency with rigour to enhance the accuracy and utility of health evidence.

19th February 2014 • comment

Moleen Zunza is a member of the Global Research Nurses' network and is part of the team that has published this systematic review.

13th January 2014 • comment

ESSENCE on Health Research have created a good practice document on research costing. It includes a review of the funding practices related to the definition and funding of direct and indirect costs. 

18th December 2013 • comment

There is limited evidence on the optimal timing of antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation in children 2–5 y of age. This study uses a causal modelling analysis using the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS–Southern Africa (IeDEA-SA) collaborative dataset to determine the difference in mortality when starting ART in children aged 2–5 y immediately (irrespective of CD4 criteria), as recommended in the World Health Organization (WHO) 2013 guidelines, compared to deferring to lower CD4 thresholds, for example, the WHO 2010 recommended threshold of CD4 count <750 cells/mm3 or CD4 percentage (CD4%) <25%

16th December 2013 • comment

The primary aim of this study is to examine the effect of the participation of maltreated children aged 6-18 years in the Child-Interview intervention on their mental health and quality of life. As a second aim, this study also examines the balance between additional costs and effects of the Child-Interview intervention in comparison with AMK investigation without the Child-Interview intervention (adult-only intervention).

11th December 2013 • comment

This guide, developed by the WHO and released in December 2013, aims to facilitate implementation research in LMICs.

2nd December 2013 • comment

Research Link Nurse

by Nicola McHugh
15th October 2013 • comment

This report and brief is based on the study 'The Political Economy of Under-Nutrition in Pakistan'. The authors highlight challenges faced for mainstreaming nutrition as an inter-sectoral development priority and provide strategic recommendations using Acosta and Fanzo’s nutrition governance framework.

12th October 2013 • comment

With an under-five mortality rate of 89 per 1000 live births, Pakistan is lagging behind the desired MDG 4. There is still a need to reduce the under-five mortality rate by 45 percentage points in order to achieve the MDG target by 2015. Each year around 91,000 and 53,300 children die from pneumonia and diarrhea respectively, in Pakistan. Diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria collectively contribute to around 50% of deaths in children. These three diseases, thus, represent a challenging but surmountable obstacle towards achieving the MDG 4 target. Implementation of large-scale interventions and scale-up plan focusing on these three major killers of children in Pakistan is essential. This report identifies the major barriers towards accessing essential medicines by care givers.

16th September 2013 • comment

This systematic review of the current evidence assessed the effectiveness of food fortification with single micronutrients (iron, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, iodine, zinc) as well as MMN when compared with no fortification on the health and nutrition of women and children.

11th September 2013 • comment

The primary aim of this qualitative study was to examine individual factors that shaped mothers’ decisions to formula-feed their infants.

2nd September 2013 • comment

Anemia affects over 500 million women, and in pregnancy is associated with impaired maternal and infant outcomes. Intermittent antenatal iron supplementation is an attractive alternative to daily dosing; however, the impact of this strategy on infant outcomes remains unclear. This study compared the effect of intermittent antenatal iron supplementation with daily iron supplementation on maternal and infant outcomes in rural Viet Nam.

26th August 2013 • comment

India, with a population of more than 1.21 billion, has the highest maternal mortality in the world (estimated to be 56000 in 2010); and adolescent (aged 15–19) mortality shares 9% of total maternal deaths. Addressing the maternity care needs of adolescents may have considerable ramifications for achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG)–5. This paper assesses the socioeconomic differentials in accessing full antenatal care and professional attendance at delivery by adolescent mothers (aged 15–19) in India during 1990–2006.

19th August 2013 • comment

The authors propose four arguments for why cervical cancer screening and treatment should be included when it comes to operationalizing these two goals and thus to improving reproductive and maternal health outcomes. Each of the four arguments is illustrative of a larger framework that has equity and socioeconomic, gender, public health, and health services dimensions.

16th August 2013 • comment

Malaria in pregnancy has important consequences for mother and baby. Coverage with the World Health Organization–recommended prevention strategy for pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) and insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) is low. This systematic review explores factors affecting delivery, access, and use of IPTp and ITNs among healthcare providers and women

13th August 2013 • comment

Recent research has established linkages of preconception interventions with improved maternal, perinatal and neonatal health outcomes and it has been suggested that several proven interventions recommended during pregnancy may be even more effective if implemented before conception. The authors in this report have collated and synthesized relevant information on interventions available during the preconception period by using standard methods.

2nd August 2013 • comment

Presentations from D Groups

19th July 2013 • comment

The World Health Organization’s recommendations on optimizing the roles of health workers aim to help address critical health workforce shortages that slow down progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals. These recommendations are intended for health policy-makers, managers and other stakeholders at a regional, national and international level.

11th July 2013 • comment

This study suggests that to achieve a substantial reduction in maternal mortality, a comprehensive approach to emergency care, and overall improvements in the quality of maternal health care will be needed.

11th July 2013 • comment

The authors in this study hypothesized that the association between previous abortion and the risk of preterm first birth changed in Scotland between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 2008.

10th July 2013 • comment

In 2010 Pakistan experienced the worst floods recorded in its history; millions of people were affected and thousands lost their lives. Nutrition assessment surveys led by UNICEF were conducted in flood-affected areas of Punjab and Sindh provinces to assess the nutrition status of children between 6–59 months while Aga Khan University (AKU) undertook a parallel assessment including micronutrient status in their project areas within Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab.

18th June 2013 • comment

Little is known about factors contributing to inequities in antenatal care use in Ethiopia. This study aimed to assess inequities in the use of antenatal care on the basis of area of residence, administrative region, economic status and education.

17th June 2013 • comment

Adherence to antiretroviral drugs in the treatment of paediatric HIV infection is complicated because of many factors including stigma and drug intake logistics. It is therefore important to identify children with non-adherence in order to intervene before they become at risk of developing treatment failure or drug resistance. The aim of this study was to determine the level of adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART), measured by caretaker report, medication return and nevirapine plasma concentration.

17th June 2013 • comment

Integrating maternal mental health care will help advance maternal and child health (MCH) status. This paper is the second in a series of five articles providing a global perspective on integrating mental health.

7th June 2013 • comment

IV Therapy

by Editor

Pedagogy is a US provider of Continuing Education for Nurses. They have produced posters that can be downloaded, showing recent guidlines in the management of Intra Venous therapy.

17th May 2013 • comment

Pneumonia remains a major cause of child death globally, and improving antibiotic treatment rates is a key control strategy. The third paper in the PLOS series of 'Measuring Coverage in MNCH', the authors show that the performance of survey tools could be improved by increasing the survey recall period or by improving either overall discriminative power or specificity.

14th May 2013 • comment

The PLOS Medicine “Measuring Coverage in MNCH” Collection of research studies and reviews presents systematic assessments of the validity of health intervention coverage measurement based on household surveys, the primary method for estimating population-level intervention coverage in low- and middle-income countries. This is the second paper of the collection. It focuses on the development of the indicators and standard measurement tools that are needed to measure coverage of key newborn interventions.

14th May 2013 • comment

The PLOS Medicine “Measuring Coverage in MNCH” Collection of research studies and reviews presents systematic assessments of the validity of health intervention coverage measurement based on household surveys, the primary method for estimating population-level intervention coverage in low- and middle-income countries. This is the first paper of the collection

10th May 2013 • comment

Integrating maternal mental health care will help advance maternal and child health (MCH) status. This paper is the second in a series of five articles providing a global perspective on integrating mental health.

7th June 2013 • comment

The Lancet Series on Childhood Pneumonia and Diarrhoea, led by Aga Khan University, Pakistan, provides evidence for integrated control efforts for childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea.The series of four papers assesses the global burden of these two illnesses and identifies a set of highly cost-effective interventions that can prevent most diarrhoea deaths and nearly two thirds of pneumonia deaths by 2025, if delivered at scale. It also highlights the findings from consultations with several hundred frontline workers in high-burden countries and explores the barriers and enablers they face in dealing with these two diseases and potential ways forward. The final paper represents a call to action and discusses the global and country-level remedies needed to eliminate preventable deaths from these illnesses by 2025.

12th April 2013 • comment

Despite published guidance on writing the abstract in the PRISMA Statement guiding the reporting of systematic reviews in general and elsewhere, evaluations show that reporting of systematic reviews in journal and conference abstracts is poor. Teh authors developed consensus-based reporting guidelines as an extension to the PRISMA Statement on good reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in abstracts.

10th April 2013 • comment

It is estimated that 41.8% of pregnant women worldwide are anaemic. Approximately 60% of these cases in non-malarious areas, and 50% in malaria-endemic settings, are assumed to be due to iron deficiency. We share the WHO guideline providing global, evidence-informed recommendations on the use of multiple micronutrient powders for home fortification of foods consumed by pregnant women.

14th March 2013 • comment

Universal salth iodization is recommended intervention for preventing and correcting Iodine deficiency. We share the WHO guidelines for salt iodization and its monitoring.

15th January 2013 • comment

The emerging consensus is that improvement in women's health cannot be made through simple, vertical strategies; rather, it requires broad-based health system strengthening at every level of care, from the community to the clinic to the hospital. This paper reports experience in rural Lesotho, where a pilot program was implemented that provided comprehensive care of pregnant women from the community to the health center level, linking key primary care services (include HIV testing and treatment) to antenatal care (ANC) and facility-based delivery.

11th January 2013 • comment

Half the developing world population lack access to flush toilets and other forms of improved sanitation; 1.1 billion people defecate in the open. An estimated 750 million people still live without improved water sources. There are serious adverse health consequences of poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), particularly in children, including diarrhoea, respiratory illness, trachoma, and death. Access to safe drinking-water is essential to health, a basic human right and a component of effective policy for health protection. We share the guidelines for Drinking water quality and water safety manual.

2nd January 2013 • comment

Emergency obstetric care (EmOC) signal functions, reflecting health facilities' capacity to respond to important obstetric complications, are widely used to construct indicators of service provision. However, no signal functions are agreed for emergency newborn care (EmNC), except newborn resuscitation, or for routine non-emergency care for mothers and newborns. 

19th November 2012 • comment

Major improvements are required in the coverage and quality of essential childhood interventions to achieve Millennium Development Goal Four (MDG 4). Long distance to health facilities is one of the known barriers to access. We investigated the effect of networked and Euclidean distances from home to formal health facilities on childhood mortality in rural Tanzania between 2005 and 2007.

19th November 2012 • comment

There is a global imperative to tackle national and international health inequities— defined as unfair andavoidable differences in health. One step in reaching this goal is to improve the rigorous, scientific evidence base on the impacts of policies on inequities in health outcomes, resource allocation, and use. The attaches paper discusses consensus-based reporting guidelines for equity-focused systematic reviews in order to help reviewers identify, extract, and synthesise evidence on equity in systematic reviews.

2nd November 2012 • comment

This Policy Forum article aims to highlight opportunities for screening and appropriate treatment of life-threatening pregnancy-related interventions.

12th October 2012 • comment