August 11, 2020
HJF Medical Research International (HJFMRI), a wholly owned subsidiary of HJF, was awarded $1.3 million 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.
“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.”
This study precedes the ARC (Antenatal/Postnatal Research Collective) Study, a new four-year initiative aimed at improving antenatal care and postnatal care through risk stratification and reducing maternal and infant mortality. The study 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. It 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.
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 objective—to provide accurate and timely data for decision-making on the causes of stillbirths and deaths among children under age five—will help provide 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.