The impact of cotrimoxazole on healthy birth and growth in rural Zimbabwe

Year of award: 2015


  • Dr Andrew Prendergast

    Queen Mary University of London

Project summary

Undernutrition underlies 45 per cent of child deaths globally. Stunting, the most prevalent form of undernutrition, affects 165 million children under five years of age, leading to increased mortality from infections and impaired neurodevelopment. Annually, 20 million babies are born with low birth weight due to fetal growth restriction, prematurity, or both. Together, low birth weight, prematurity and stunting interact and overlap, contributing to an enormous number of child deaths and more pervasively hindering developmental potential. Dr Prendergast’s research focuses on new strategies to promote healthy birth and growth, by targeting inflammatory pathways that are common to preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction and postnatal stunting. Building on the hypothesis that inflammation is driven predominantly by clinical and subclinical infections, abnormal microbiota composition and environmental enteric dysfunction, his group is undertaking a randomised clinical trial of cotrimoxazole, integrated with a package of nutrition interventions, among pregnant women and infants in rural Zimbabwe.