HJFMRI Receives Grant to Research COVID-19 Impact on Pregnant Women and Newborns

Gary Pettit

Kisumu, Kenya - HJF Medical Research International (HJFMRI), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF), was awarded $1.3M by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care in the Kenya Child Health and Mortality Surveillance (CHAMPS) and Antenatal/Postnatal Research Collective (ARC) network. This cutting-edge research will address current antenatal and postnatal COVID-19 research gaps in understanding the burden of COVID-19 in pregnant women and newborns, associated risk factors, and associated maternal morbidity and mortality in Western Kenya.

This study precedes the Antenatal/Postnatal Research Collective (ARC) study, a new four-year initiative aimed at improving antenatal care (ANC) and postnatal care (PNC) through risk stratification and reducing maternal and infant mortality. ARC is also funded by the Gates Foundation through a collaborative effort between multiple governmental and non-governmental organizations. COVID-19 surveillance will be implemented as a precursor to the full implementation of the ARC study.   This surveillance study will monitor the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and newborns’ outcomes, with additional considerations of maternal anemia and co-infection with HIV, tuberculosis  or malaria. The study will also look at the birth outcomes and the health of infants born to individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 and the rate, or possibility, of transmission from mother to child.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referral Hospital antenatal and postnatal care registration area in Kisumu, Kenya.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referral Hospital antenatal and postnatal care registration area in Kisumu, Kenya.


“Determining the likelihood of adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with maternal COVID-19 is an essential and urgent matter at this time, and HJFMRI is proud to support the study in the CHAMPS and ARC platforms to determine this likelihood,” said HJF President and CEO Joseph Caravalho, M.D. “The research will help medical communities understand the risks—and potential methods to mitigate those risks—for infected mothers and their newborns.”

The ARC study will take place in 2020 and 2021 in Kisumu and Siaya counties in Western Kenya. The three major referral facilities are Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kisumu County Referral Hospital, and Siaya County Referral Hospital.

The CHAMPS Network was established with the aim to develop a long-term network of high-quality sites to collect robust and standardized longitudinal data with the overarching objective of understanding and tracking the preventable causes of childhood death globally. The CHAMPS Network’s goal—to provide accurate and timely data for decision-making on the causes of stillbirths and deaths among children under age 5—provides answers needed to support the goal of significantly reducing child deaths in lower-resource countries. This new research will enable CHAMPS to investigate risks to women and children in relation to the COVID-19 disease.


HJFMRI is a wholly owned nonprofit subsidiary of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. HJFMRI also provides support services in program operations, sub-award management, regulatory compliance, technology enhancement and necessary manpower including scientific and technical leadership and, administrative and logistical support. Working side-by-side with medical researchers from across the globe, HJFMRI provides a wide range of services that facilitate basic research, scientific trials, clinical care, training, capacity-building, facility management and more. From mentoring small entities to managing large consortiums, we partner with the medical community, academia and private industry to pursue the most advanced research.

About HJF
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc. (HJF) is a global nonprofit organization with the mission to advance military medicine. HJF’s scientific, administrative and program operations services empower investigators, clinicians, and medical researchers around the world to make discoveries in all areas of medicine. With more than 35 years of experience, HJF serves as a trusted and responsive link between the military medical community, federal and private partners, and the millions of warfighters, veterans, and civilians who benefit from military medicine. In addition, HJF’s rapid response to recent COVID-19 outbreak and ability to initiate immediate support to COVID-19 clinical trials enable us to evaluate advanced technologies during the real-time outbreak. For more information, visit