Maternal, Newborn & Child Health
Written by working group members linked to or informed by coalition efforts.
- COVID-19 vaccine trials with children: ethics pointers BMJ Global Health 2022
by , Ambe JR, de Vries J.
- Global research priorities for COVID-19 in maternal, reproductive and child health: Results of an international survey PLOS One 2021
by Etti M, Alger J, Salas SP, Saggers R, Ramdin T, Endler M, Gemzell-Danielsson K, Alfvén T, Ahmed Y, Callejas A, Eskenazi D, Khalil A, Le Doare K, on behalf of the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Working Group of the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition.
Selected and recommended by the working group
COVID-19 research priorities in maternal, reproductive, and child health
An international survey on maternal, newborn, and child health
The working group is conducting a follow-up survey to assess changes in global MNCH priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic with additional focus on adolescent sexual and reproductive health. More information
Anyone working in the field of MNCH is invited to fill in the confidential survey, which will remain open through the end of November 2022, and to share it within their networks. Participate in the survey
If you would like to submit a query to the Maternal, Newborn & Child Health working group, please send us an email.
Working group members
I am an obstetrician-gynaecologist with formal training in obstetrics, gynaecology, and public health. I am actively involved in clinical and research training, and mentoring of undergraduates and postgraduates in Zambia. I was previously Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the School of Medicine at the University of Zambia. In addition to my clinical appointment, I currently serve as Director of Research and Postgraduate Studies at the Levy Mwanawasa Medical University in Lusaka, Zambia. I act as a consultant and advisor to the Ministry of Health on reproductive health and am a member of relevant technical working groups. With marked health disparities in Zambia, my current focus is to train and mentor health care workers and conduct research on positioning emergency obstetric and newborn care in Zambia within the framework of universal health care.
Tobias Alfvén works as senior researcher in Global Health at the Department of Public Health Sciences at Karolinska Institutet and as a pediatrician at Sachs’ children and youth hospital in Stockholm.
Tobias is a medical doctor, with a PhD in Epidemiology and a BSc in Business Administration and Political Science. He has for the last 15 years combined research, teaching, clinical medicine in pediatrics and work for the United Nations both in the field and at HQ. Among many responsibilities when working for UNAIDS in Geneva he was representing the organization in the UN expert group on the Millennium Development Goals. He has worked and done research in Asia, Africa and Europe, and is currently involved in projects in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Vietnam and Sweden.
At the Department of Public Health at the Karolinska Institutet he is co-chairing the Maternal & Child and Clinical Care sub-group within the Global Health – Health Systems and Policy group. At Sachs’ children and youth hospital he is leading the research network in global health and infectious diseases. Further he is the Chair of the Swedish Society of Medicine´s Committee of Global Health and is a Board member of the Section for Global Health, Swedish Paediatric Society.
I am a Parasitologist working in the Department of Clinical Laboratory at the University Hospital (Hospital Escuela) in Tegucigalpa, the main public health hospital in Honduras. I am also a faculty member of the Research Unit (Unidad de Investigación Científica), Faculty of Medical Sciences (Facultad de Ciencias Médicas), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH). I am board member of the Instituto de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Parasitologia Antonio Vidal (IAV), a non-profit organization devoted to training, advising, and conducting research in the field of infectious diseases and parasitology. I combine clinical laboratory work, teaching, and research activities with mentoring graduate and post-graduate students and faculty members performing health research, thereby building interdisciplinary bridges, promoting international collaboration, and networking to advance scientific research and social innovation for health in Honduras.
I am 50 years old, with 22 years as an obstetrician-gynecologist. I practiced for 3 years in a rural hospital in the north coast of Honduras and then commuted to Tegucigalpa to work at Hospital Escuela, first as an Ultrasonographer in the OBS/GYN unit, then I was in charge of the labour and delivery unit, later rotating all the OBS/GYN departments. I am now the chief of department and we have residency programs from the National University (UNAH) in our hospital. For 8 years I have been teaching at the medicine faculty of UNAH. I also collaborate with the Central American Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology in their research group and as part of the editorial board of the Honduran Medical Journal.
I am a neonatologist. I obtained my medical and pediatrics degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH) and was a fellow in neonatal-perinatal medicine in Vancouver, Canada. I am currently working in Hospital Escuela´s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the largest referral center in Honduras, and also in the Social Security Hospital in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I am also a Pediatrics teacher for the Universidad Católica de Honduras (UNICAH), Faculty of Medicine. My interests in neonatology include neonatal nutrition, infection control and prevention, as well as management of premature newborns. I am involved in some research projects with residents at the Pediatrics Postgraduate Program, Faculty of Medical Sciences, UNAH.
Margit Endler M.D. PhD, is a Swedish obstetrician/gynecologist and researcher in the field of global maternal health. Her research focuses on postpartum hemorrhage as well as advancing safe abortion and contraceptive care. Her main interest is researching and implementing abortion through telemedicine in Africa, the aim of a large clinical trial that she is currently conducting. She is a consultant at the Department of Obstetrics at Söder Hospital in Stockholm, a postdoc researcher at the Department of Women and Children´s Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, and an adjunct member of the FIGO Committee on human rights, refugees and violence against women. She has worked as a clinician or researcher in Sweden, Kenya, Haiti, Poland, and South Africa.
Deborah Eskenazi is a pediatrician with 10 years of experience. She started her career with a residency at the Instituto Nacional de Salud del Niño, in Lima, Peru, where she worked for almost 9 years. Working in this large hospital was an outstanding learning vehicle, despite limitations due to the large numbers of patients coming from all over the country and the scarce resources to count with. After her residency, she became a member of the ETHICS comity of NAMRU 6 and is still a member as of today. She also completed her training in Basic and Advanced Life Support in Pediatrics provided by the American Heart Association.
Since 2014, she is part of the Pediatrics staff in the Delgado Clinic, a very modern clinic in the heart of Lima City.
Since 2019, she has been teaching general medicine and pediatric studies in the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC). She has conducted research on her own and in collaboration with others. She likes new challenges and is passionate to help other people.
Dr Melanie Etti is a clinical research fellow in paediatric infectious diseases and microbiology and is based in Kampala, Uganda. She is currently working under the supervision of the MNCH Working Group co-chair, Professor Kirsty Le Doare, on a large, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded study, which is focused towards reducing the incidence of Group B Streptococcal disease among neonates in Uganda. Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked to set up periCOVID Africa. This international, multi-site study aims to understand the sero-epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 among the pregnant population in five Sub-Saharan African countries (The Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Uganda). Her research interests include the development and evaluation of targeted and population-based strategies for infectious disease prevention and control, particularly in resource-limited settings.
She joined the COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition’s Ethics Working Group as an observer.
Kristina Gemzell Danielsson is professor, Head of the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet and senior consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden. She is head of the research group at the WHO collaborating centre for research and research training in Human Reproduction and a member of the scientific and technical advisory group of the special programme for Human Reproduction and Reproductive Health Research (STAG) WHO, Geneva, the international medical advisory panel (IMAP) IPPF, FIGO’s executive board and Chair of the FIGO committee on Human Rights, refugees and violence against women.
Dr Lauren Hookham is a clinical research fellow based in Kampala, Uganda. She is currently helping to coordinate periCOVID Uganda; a study aiming to understand the sero-epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 amongst the pregnant population. Her research interests include maternal and neonatal infections as well as antimicrobial stewardship.
Debra Jackson joined the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) as the inaugural Takeda Chair in Global Child Health and Deputy Director of the Maternal Adolescent Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH) Centre in August 2020. Previously she held the position of Senior Health Advisor and Chief of the Implementation Research and Delivery Science Unit, Health Section, UNICEF, which focused on maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health programme research, data and digital health. She also holds an appointment as an Extraordinary Professor in Public Health at the School of Public Health (SoPH), University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. She lived in South Africa from 2000-2013 and has experience working across Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands, and the USA. At the SoPH she served as principal investigator for a range of research projects, such as the multi-country PROMISE-EBF trial on promoting exclusive breastfeeding and the National South African Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV Evaluation. She has qualifications in nursing, public health, epidemiology, and biostatistics. Her research interests are maternal and child health, nutrition, research ethics, health systems, embedded implementation research, MCH data and digital health. Her recent research has focused on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, infant feeding, birth registration, maternal and newborn health and community health workers. She has over 140 peer-reviewed publications and serves on several global and WHO advisory committees.
Nkwan Jacob is a nurse working with the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, in Cameroon. He has 19 years of experience in infection prevention and control (IPC) as well as in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). He served as the pioneer IPC/WASH nurse and chair of the IPC committee of Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH) from 2002 to 2007, and then as IPC supervisor and chair of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services CBCHS) IPC committee from 2011 to 2019.
As the lead IPC nurse, he conceived and implemented several IPC/WASH projects that raised IPC/WASH practices in BBH and other facilities of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services to acceptable standards. The introduction of local ABHR production and improvement in hand hygiene practices in general led to the successful elimination of neonatal sepsis in the maternity unit of BBH in 2006. ABHR, now used in all the health facilities of the CBCHS, has contributed significantly to improved hand hygiene practices in all the facilities of the CBC Health Services.
Nkwan Jacob and his team have received several national and international awards including the third IFIC sponsorship award in 2004, OXIOID infection control team of the year in 2006, CBCHS cleanest hospital award in 2006, APIC International Ambassador Award in 2018 as well as the SHEA Hero of Infection Control in 2019.
He is a current member of several IPC and professional associations including:
• Infection Prevention and Control Association of Cameroon
• Infection Control African Network (ICAN)
• Infection Prevention and Control Association (IPAC) of Canada
• Association of Professional in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)
• Society for Health Care Epidemiology of America (SHEA)
• Cameroon Bioethics Association (CAMBIN)
• Cameroon Nurses Association (CNA)
Nkwan Jacob has a bachelor’s degree in Nursing Sciences from the University of Buea and a master’s degree in Public Health (MPH) from the University of Roehampton. He is currently doing a post graduate course in infection prevention and control with the University of Radboud, Netherlands. He has published several articles.
Dr Le Doare is UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Professor of Global Health within the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group at St. George’s, University of London, based at MRC/UVRI @LSHTM Uganda. Her research interests are age-related immune responses to infectious diseases, in particular to Group B-streptococcus (GBS). She is interested in improving our knowledge of how maternal antibody in vaginal fluid, blood and breast milk is passed to babies and how this protects them from colonisation and disease. Her focus is on harnessing these tools of nature (basic pathophysiology and immunity) to improve vaccines and prevention strategies, coupled with clinical vaccine studies at her maternal vaccination platform site in Kampala, Uganda. She leads the periCOVID study to inderstand the immunology and transmission of COVID19 from women to infants and how antibodies might protect against infection in the newborn period. The aim is to reassure new mothers that they can safely care for their babies and breastfeed them without harm. We also hope to help hospitals develop infection prevention and control procedures to allow women to attend antenatal care safely during the pandemic and for their infants to attend for vaccination and sick visits. She is passionate about training the next generation of female scientists working in Africa to improve maternal and child health. She receives funding from the EDCTP, MRC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. Elhadi Miskeen, MBBS, MD, FAIMER, TUFH fellow, is an Assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medical Education at University of Bisha, Saudi Arabia. He is also head department the community-based medical education
He is an Assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine & Institute for safe motherhood and childhood at the University of Gezira, Sudan.
His areas of interest are; safe motherhood and childhood, student support projects, medical education, social accountability, community empowerment, evidence-based medicine, and medical education. He conducted many types of research and authored a lot of publications.
Dr Ghulam Mustafa is Professor of Pediatrics and the Chairman of the department of Pediatrics at the Nishtar Medical University, Multan, Pakistan. He is Chief Executive Officer of the Helping Hands Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, working for Health, Education, and Community empowerment in Pakistan. He has been proactively involved in vaccination campaigns for children, through print & electronic media, to prevent Meningitis and other infectious diseases.
Dr. Lisa Noguchi is a certified nurse-midwife and infectious disease epidemiologist. Over the past 22 years she has supported implementation and research in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Her education includes Bachelors degrees in anthropology and nursing, and a Masters degree in nurse-midwifery from the University of Pennsylvania. She obtained her PhD in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University and is currently an Associate in the Department of Epidemiology. She is currently MNH Director at Jhpiego; Co-chair of the NIH-funded B-PROTECTED study, which is studying safety and pharmacokinetics of PrEP and dapivirine ring during breastfeeding in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and South Africa; and Research Director for Jhpiego Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, and Mali sites in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ARC network. Dr. Noguchi has served on WHO Antenatal Care Guidelines, WHO HIV PrEP for Women and Girls, WHO Perinatal Executive Committee Guideline Development Group, and Trans-NIH Plan for HIV-Related Research Women and Girls Planning Group committees. She has published research and commentary in a range of peer-reviewed journals, including Gates Open Research, Birth Defects Research, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, PLoS One, Malaria Journal, AJOG, Journal of Infectious Diseases, The Lancet HIV, The Lancet, and New England Journal of Medicine.
Professor Helen Rees is Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, where she is also an ad hominem Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Co-Director of the Wits African Leadership in Vaccinology Excellence Flagship programme. She is an Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an Honorary Fellow at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge University. Recently, in March 2020, she had an honorary degree of Doctor of Science (Medicine) conferred on her by the University of London. She is internationally renowned for her research and policy work in HIV, Vaccines and reproductive health. She has received numerous national and international awards for her contribution to science and to the South African, African and global health sectors. She is an Officer of the British Empire awarded for her contribution to global health and received the Order of the Baobab, one of South Africa’s highest honours, for her contribution to the health of women and children. She has chaired many national and international committees and is currently chair of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority, chair of the WHO’s African Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group, chair of WHO’s Emergency Committee on Polio and chair of WHO’s Working Group on Ebola vaccines. She chairs the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) Programme and Policy Committee and serves on the Gavi Board and also chairs the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI)’s Scientific Advisory Committee and serves on CEPI’s Board. During the time of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, she has been appointed onto several national and international Committees. WHO appointed her as a member of the IHR Emergency Committee on COVID-19 and the South African Government appointed Helen on several Ministerial Committees that inform the Health Minister, namely, the Research Team, the Therapeutics Team, the Incident Management Team and the National Essential Medicine Therapeutics Sub-Committee for COVID-19.
Responding to COVID-19 in Africa: The myths, the lessons, and the future
COVID-19 research in low- and middle-income countries
Robin Saggers is a paediatrician who completed his undergraduate and postgraduate training on the Wits circuit. He is currently doing a Fellowship in Neonatology at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. His MMed was in neonatology, specifically: “An analysis of neonates with surgical diagnoses admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.” Robin is an APLS instructor as well as a regular instructor on neonatal resuscitation courses. His interests lie in ventilation and critical care, having completed various critical care courses: BASIC, Beyond BASIC: Mechanical Ventilation and Beyond BASIC: Nephrology, as well as a Workshop on Neonatal Ventilation. He is involved with research within the neonatal unit at Charlotte Maxeke, as well as supervising students and registrars writing research reports. In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, water polo and running.
Sofía P. Salas is a Chilean medical doctor, appointed as Full Professor (Senior stage of the career) at the Center of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Clínica Alemana- Universidad del Desarrollo (Santiago, Chile; https://medicina.udd.cl/centro-bioetica/). Since 1994 she has participated as member of the local IRB at the Faculty of Medicine Universidad Católica (up to 2009), at Universidad Diego Portales (2013 to March 2018), and since 2018 at the Faculty of Medicine, Universidad del Desarrollo. She teaches research ethics at pre and postgraduate levels and also conducts bioethics research on different topics. During 2014, Dr Salas was awarded a training Program in Research Ethics at FLACSO, Argentina, a program supported by Fogarty International Center from the NIH. She is a member of the Ethics Department of the Chilean Medical Association (Colegio Médico de Chile) and Chair of the National Commission for Research Ethics, an advisory Commission for the Chilean Ministry of Health in research ethics. In December 2018 she was awarded the “Premio de Ética” by the Chilean Medical Association for her work “Conscientious objectors in Chilean medical education”. She has published extensively both locally and internationally related to bioethics research.
Dr Shanbhag is a practicing pediatrician with experience in managing COVID-19 in children and is very much interested in research and collaboration. For some of her ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-related research work, she has also collaborated with the departments of community medicine and psychiatry. She has applied for funding to carry out COVID-19 seroprevalence studies in children in her region and is currently awaiting approval. Dr Shanbhag is highly motivated to further collaborate and contribute to COVID-19 related research at the international level.
Dr Guan Wang completed a MRes in Biomedical Sciences (2007) and a PhD in Integrated Biology (2013) at the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Scotland.
She currently serves as a Research Fellow at the School of Sport and Health Sciences of the University of Brighton, UK. Through training and research, she has developed particular insight into population genetics and high-throughput molecular biology. Her current research focuses on generating new biological evidence and facilitating the implementation of interventions that can be of use in global health issues, as well as understanding emerging health emergencies, such as COVID-19.