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Maternal and Newborn Health Group team

Maternal and Newborn Health Group

The Maternal Health Group in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiolgy was created in 1989 and expanded in 2015 to include the Newborn Health and Stillbirth Team at LSHTM.

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Maternal Health Team

Areas of expertise in the Maternal Health Team include the measurement of maternal morbidity and mortality, clinical audits of near-miss cases and maternal deaths, other quality of care improvement approaches, evaluation of complex interventions, definition and measurement of unsafe abortion, signal functions for health facilities, long term consequences of maternal deaths and complications, the relationship between HIV and maternal mortality, and healthcare-associated infections at birth.

Newborn Health Team

The Newborn Health Team focuses on high impact research and partnerships for next generation leadership, notably through the Every Newborn Action Plan. We work to reduce stillbirths, neonatal deaths, perinatal infections notably Group B Strep, later disability and to promote child development. Expertise includes: improving data and routine information systems for impact indicators (LBW, preterm birth, stillbirths, neonatal cause of death, maternal and perinatal death surveillance and response), coverage/quality of care, tools to assess service readiness for maternal/newborn care, as well as measurement for early child development; large observational studies and cohorts; RCTs; large scale evaluation of complex interventions and national progress tracking and case studies.

About
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The Maternal Health Group in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Epidemiolgy was created in 1989 and expanded in 2015 to include the Newborn Health and Stillbirth Team at LSHTM. The group works also closely alongside the Maternal Adolescent Reproductive and Child Health, MARCH centre.

The Maternal Health group is one of the longest-standing research groups working with LMICs, and will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019; further details can be found on the Updates pages.

The Maternal and Newborn Health Group carries out research to contribute to the international debate and key policy, measurement and evaluation issues related to the health of young children and their mothers. The multidisciplinary research team is made up of epidemiologists, anthropologists, statisticians, economists, demographers, and clinicians such as medical doctors, midwives, and nurses. The research done by the group is conducted within research consortia or with partners in the UK and overseas who have established reputations in the field.

Areas of expertise in the Maternal Health Team include the measurement of maternal morbidity and mortality, clinical audits of near-miss cases and maternal deaths, other quality of care improvement approaches, evaluation of complex interventions, definition and measurement of unsafe abortion, signal functions for health facilities, long term consequences of maternal deaths and complications, the relationship between HIV and maternal mortality, and healthcare-associated infections at birth.

The Newborn Health Team focuses on high impact research and partnerships for next generation leadership, notably through the Every Newborn Action Plan. We work to reduce stillbirths, neonatal deaths, perinatal infections notably Group B Strep, later disability and to promote child development. Expertise includes: improving data and routine information systems for impact indicators (LBW, preterm birth, stillbirths, neonatal cause of death, maternal and perinatal death surveillance and response), coverage/quality of care, tools to assess service readiness for maternal/newborn care, as well as measurement for early child development; large observational studies and cohorts; RCTs; large scale evaluation of complex interventions and national progress tracking and case studies.

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Research
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Overview

The Maternal and Newborn Health Group is currently working on the evidence base from epidemiology through intervention on all continents. We partner with multilaterals, national governments, research and professional organisations as well as NGOs. There are a number of cross cutting themes that the various research projects address:

  •  Measuring the burden of diseases associated with pregnancy, obstetric, stillbirth and neonatal complications, as well as their risk factor and socio-economic costs;
  • Improving our understanding of barriers to safe and appropriate obstetric and newborn care in low and middle income countries;
  • Strengthening the evidence base for large scale evaluation of complex interventions targeted at women with wanted or unwanted pregnancies, randomised control trials, and modelling;
  • Promoting the use of evidence to strengthen policy making.

The individual projects are described in the research pages for further in depth reading of the current work being carried out by the Maternal and Newborn Health Group.

Collaborations
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The Maternal and Newborn Health Group works alongside many partners both in the UK and overseas. Below is the list of some of our main past and present partner organisations and institutions.

AfricSanté, Burkina Faso
Bandim Health Project, Guinea-Bissau
Centre Muraz, Burkina Faso
CERRHUD (Centre of Research for Human Reproduction and Demographics), Benin
CHERG (Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group)
Dabat Research Centre, Ethiopia
Dhulikhel Hospital Kathmandu University Hospital, Nepal
Guttmacher Institute, USA
ENSP (National School of Public Health), Morocco
Fundación Infant, Argentina
International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh  (icddr,b), Bangladesh
Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania
Iganga Mayuge HDSS, MUCHAP, Uganda
Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium
ISGLOBAL, Spain
KEMRI|Wellcome Trust, Kilifi
King’s College London , UK
Kintampo Health Research Centre, Ghana
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Makerere University School of Public Health, Uganda
Manhiҫa Health Research Center, Mozambique
Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands
Options, UK

Peking University, School of Public Health, China
Pokhara Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal
Population Council, USA, Zambia, India
Public Health Foundation of India
Sichuan University, China
The Soapbox Collaborative, UK
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
University of Aberdeen, Scotland
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
University of East Anglia, UK
University of Gondor, Ethiopia
University of Oslo, Norway
University of Southern Denmark/Odense University Hospital, Denmark
University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
World Health Organization, Switzerland

Publications
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Teaching
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Members of the Maternal and Newborn Health Group teach on a number of cross-cutting MSc modules at LSHTM, including among others Basic Epidemiology, Extended Epidemiology, Foundations in Reproductive Health, and Current Issues in Maternal and Perinatal Health.

The ‘Foundations in Reproductive Health’ module aims to give students an understanding of the main themes in reproductive health research including: what the different medical, social, political and gender perspectives are in which reproductive health is constructed; how these perspectives influence research and practice; which demographic and epidemiological methods are used in reproductive health research; and which approaches are used for interventions, programmes and policies through the lifecycle, taking contextual challenges into consideration. This is a core module for students enrolled in the Reproductive and Sexual Health Research MSc, and takes place face-to-face in London from October to December.

The module ‘Current Issues in Maternal and Perinatal Health’ focuses on low and middle income countries and addresses the following public health questions: what is the burden of mortality and morbidity for women and their young babies; what are the determinants and causes of this burden; what are the available evidence-based interventions and strategies; what are their relative effectiveness; what are current topical or unresolved issues in maternal and perinatal health. The module includes lectures on common ground material and problem-based activities on unresolved or topical programmatic issues. It is attended every year by 40 students, including external students, and takes place from the end of February to the end of March.

In addition to teaching MSc students, academic staff supervise research degree students (PhD, DrPH) from different countries in their specialist areas. Please contact any member of the team if you would like to do a research degree on maternal or newborn health with us.

Our teaching also includes MOOCs, including the highly successful Lancet Maternal Health Series MOOC dealing with maternal health care quality, its current state worldwide and the future of maternal health. Another popular MOOC is the MARCH Centre MOOC (to be launched later this year). It equips participants with knowledge on maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in different areas of the globe using the most recent data available, explains current policies and programmes, and facilitates debates among all participants. LSHTM staff have developed the teaching materials for both MOOC in collaboration with external experts.

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