MATISSE project donates three delivery beds to Sukuta Health Centre

The Maternal Immunisation Study for Safety and Efficacy (MATISSE) clinical trial, of the Vaccines and Immunity Theme at the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (MRCG at LSHTM) donated three new delivery beds to the Sukuta Health Centre on Monday 12 September 2022.
A group standing in front of donated delivery beds

MATISSE is a phase 3, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine in infants born to women vaccinated during pregnancy.  This study will determine how maternal antibodies against RSV can protect babies from developing respiratory illness due to RSV, which is a serious respiratory disease in young babies worldwide.

Speaking on the purpose of this donation, Dr Claire Oluwalana, the clinical trial coordinator of the MATISSE study said, “During the period of this trial, we have noticed that the delivery beds are broken, difficult to sanitize, and this could be a significant cause of neonatal infection. In the last two months, we have had cases of neonatal sepsis which were reported as serious adverse events (SAEs). We are donating these new beds to make it safe and comfortable for all mothers delivering their babies at the Sukuta health centre, as well as their newborns independent of the trial.  We hope that this donation will go a long way in preventing neonatal sepsis in newborns at the Sukuta health centre and make women more comfortable.”

The MRCG at LSHTM has collaborated with the Sukuta Health Centre to conduct vaccine trials and observational studies for over two decades. The collaboration has led to the successful completion of several clinical trials, with projections to conduct more in the future.

Speaking on behalf of the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Sukuta Health Centre, Morro Yarbo the Deputy OIC said, “This donation is very timely because we do not have standard delivery beds at the moment. At the health centre, we conduct a lot of deliveries, and these standard beds will create a safe environment for women in labour. Our midwives are complaining of back pain; so having these standard beds will contribute greatly to the overall service delivery.”

Fatou B.Y.  Bojang, who is in charge of the Labour Ward at Sukuta Health Centre recounted the challenges the facility has been facing in the absence of standard delivery beds.

“This donation came at the right time. We have struggled greatly during deliveries because we do not have standard beds. Most of the midwives are struggling with back pain but with these standard beds, both midwives and those in labour will be safe from infections and health hazards. We thank the MRCG at LSHTM for their support.”

The research portfolio of the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM already addresses pressing research questions related to maternal, neonatal and child health. More specifically, the Vaccines & Immunity Theme has been carrying out research into the role of vaccines in pregnant women to prevent infection in newborns.

Professor Kampmann, who leads this work at MRCG Unit states: “Our clinical trials are already contributing to lower mortality in women and newborns, and we need to make sure that the facilities in which we operate in collaboration with the Ministry of Health can deliver babies as safely as possible. I am glad that these new beds will make a very practical contribution to this work and collaboration with the Sukuta Health Centre.”

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