In September 2019, Liverpool was the host city for the 2019 European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health. 1500 researchers gathered from across the globe to discuss research and innovation in the field of tropical medicine and global health.
Dr Charles Ameh, Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) was one of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM)’s staff involved in the conference. He presented a session on Thurs 19th September to share results from his study to improve the quality of midwifery training in resource-limited settings. The study, which was conducted in Kenya, measured the effectiveness of pre-service Emergency Obstetric Care (EmONC) training interventions on the knowledge and skills of final year midwifery students. The study compared students at midwifery colleges who had received EmONC equipment and training of their teaching staff on teaching methods, EmONC and clinical skills, with students at colleges that had not received any of these interventions. The study found that the knowledge and skills were both significantly higher in midwifery students at colleges who had received the EmONC interventions, showing that these interventions were effective in improving knowledge and skills.
At the conference, Dr Ameh was also an invited panellist in a session which debated the question: Are Health Systems Failing to Meet the Needs of Women’. The session included a performance of the play ‘Orchid’ by Mumbi Kaigwa, which was written as part of LSTM’s B!RTH project. Dr Ameh was one of 4 panellists who led the discussion after the play about the needs of women and what can be done to improve health systems.
Dr Ameh: ““It has been great to be part of such a big conference and network with researchers and experts working around the world.”
Dr Helen Nabwera, Senior Clinical Research Associate – Neonatology at CMNH also presented at the conference. She presented a poster that describes the feeding practises of very low birth weight (vLBW) infants in neonatal units in Nigeria. This research was based on a survey among paediatricians from 37 neonatal units across Nigeria that was led by Dr Olukemi Tongo, Consultant Neonatologist, University College Hospital, Ibadan. The key finding was that there was marked variation in feeding practices between different neonatal units, which has implications for the survival and long-term growth and developmental outcomes for the babies. These data have enabled us to identify research priorities and design feasibility studies for feeding interventions aiming to improve the survival, growth and development of vLBW infants in resource-poor settings.
Dr Nabwera also delivered an oral presentation describing the burden of neonatal disease in 7 neonatal units across sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria and Kenya). This network of neonatal units had a shared clinical database that they used to enter routine clinical data over a 6 months period. Electronic linkage of clinical databases identified a high burden of maternal and neonatal illness including pregnancy induced hypertension, antepartum haemorrhage, neonatal sepsis and birth asphyxia. In addition, 2/3 of neonatal deaths occurred in vLBW infants.
Both these presentations were on behalf of the Neonatal Nutrition Network project that was led by LSTM’s Professor Steve Allen who was awarded funding from the Medical Research Council. The project aimed to establish a central neonatal clinical database in sub-Saharan Africa as a basis for research and quality improvement, with a particular focus on neonatal nutrition.
Dr Nabwera: “It was a great privilege to present this work on behalf of Network members and receive valuable comments from experts, other researchers and health practitioners.”