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Implementing effective community-based surveillance in research studies of maternal, newborn and infant outcomes in low resource settings

Shannon, Caitlin, Hurt, Christopher, Soremekun, Seyi, Edmond, Karen, Newton, Sam, Amenga-Etego, Seeba, Tawiah-Agyemang, Charlotte, Hill, Zelee, Manu, Alexander, Weobong, Ben, Kirkwood, Betty and Hurt, Lisa 2022. Implementing effective community-based surveillance in research studies of maternal, newborn and infant outcomes in low resource settings. Emerging Themes in Epidemiology 19 , 1. 10.1186/s12982-021-00109-0

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Background Globally adopted health and development milestones have not only encouraged improvements in the health and wellbeing of women and infants worldwide, but also a better understanding of the epidemiology of key outcomes and the development of effective interventions in these vulnerable groups. Monitoring of maternal and child health outcomes for milestone tracking requires the collection of good quality data over the long term, which can be particularly challenging in poorly-resourced settings. Despite the wealth of general advice on conducting field trials, there is a lack of specific guidance on designing and implementing studies on mothers and infants. Additional considerations are required when establishing surveillance systems to capture real-time information at scale on pregnancies, pregnancy outcomes, and maternal and infant health outcomes. Main body Based on two decades of collaborative research experience between the Kintampo Health Research Centre in Ghana and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, we propose a checklist of key items to consider when designing and implementing systems for pregnancy surveillance and the identification and classification of maternal and infant outcomes in research studies. These are summarised under four key headings: understanding your population; planning data collection cycles; enhancing routine surveillance with additional data collection methods; and designing data collection and management systems that are adaptable in real-time. Conclusion High-quality population-based research studies in low resource communities are essential to ensure continued improvement in health metrics and a reduction in inequalities in maternal and infant outcomes. We hope that the lessons learnt described in this paper will help researchers when planning and implementing their studies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1742-7622
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 December 2021
Date of Acceptance: 3 December 2021
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 05:50

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