Which maternal infections are associated with stillbirths and early neonatal deaths in East Africa?


  • Dr Anna Seale

    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Project summary

Reducing stillbirths and deaths of babies shortly after birth is an international public health priority. Many of these deaths are caused by infections passed on from the mother. Identifying the infections is important for devising vaccination or treatment, but there is not much data on this.

I propose to describe which maternal infections contribute to the deaths of babies in Kilifi, Kenya, and Harar, Ethiopia, where child mortality is very high and three times that of Kilifi. I will begin by investigating mothers who had their baby at Kilifi County Hospital, Kenya from 2011-16. I will include 350 mothers with stillbirths or babies who died shortly after birth and 350 women who had a healthy baby. I will test stored maternal blood samples for infection and compare the two groups. Then, in a prospective study in Hiwot Fana Hospital, Harar, I will recruit similar numbers of mothers at delivery and test for infection using traditional and new laboratory methods.

This study is based at a new site for the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) network. As this network widens it will be possible to use the results to design studies investigating births outside hospital as well as preventive public health measures.