202110 Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research (Bremer/PPB)

Program seeks Council approval for an initiative entitled “Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research.”

Maternal morbidity and mortality remain at the forefront of the global health agenda. Close to 300,000 women die every year of pregnancy-related causes, and between 9 and 15 million women suffer a pregnancy-related morbidity. While the global maternal mortality rate declined 44% between 1990 and 2015, this is far from the Millennium Development Goal of a 75% reduction. Similarly, morbidity and mortality in children remain unacceptably high. In 2019, 5.2 million children died before their 5th birthday, and 2.6 million were stillborn.

The developing world bears the brunt of these outcomes, as 99% of maternal deaths and 90% of newborn deaths occur in low-income countries. The slow improvement in maternal and child outcomes and the stark disparity in outcomes between high- and low- income countries point to a persistent knowledge gap in maternal, neonatal and child health.

Since 2001, the Global Network has been at the forefront of research in women’s and children’s health in low resource settings. Over the last 20 years, the Network has grown to include 8 sites in 7 countries, paired with US university partners. As the only initiative of its kind, the Global Network has developed an extensive infrastructure, enabling it to conduct 6 large multi-country randomized, controlled trials that have resulted in ground-breaking findings. In addition, the Global Network has excelled at scientific capacity building.

The overall goal of the Network is to expand scientific knowledge relevant to improving health outcomes for women and children in low-income countries. Other critical goals are to: (1) develop sustainable research infrastructure and public health intervention capabilities in developing countries, (2) strengthen international collaborative research efforts that focus on the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in pregnancy and early childhood and (3) identify and address gaps in maternal and child research.

This initiative also aligns with the “Global Health” Cross-Cutting topic of the current NICHD Strategic Plan.

Program Contact

Andrew Bremer
Pregnancy & Perinatology Branch (PPB)

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