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The Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) has launched a new programme in Togo, which aims to better understand the causes of infection in women during and after pregnancy, and determine the usefulness of an early warning score to detect possible infection.

Last month, Dr Mary McCauley, Academic Clinical Lecturer at CMNH, travelled to Togo to set up the project, working with our partners at the CHU Sylvanus Olympio Hospital in Lomé.

In this study, CMNH will compare data related to women who had clinical signs of infection to women who do not have any clinical signs of infection. It will provide evidence of what infections women have, confirmed by laboratory investigations. It will also help to inform decision makers on what packages of care are needed to improve women’s health due to infection during and after childbirth.

Of all the women who die during and after pregnancy throughout the world, 1 in 10 of these deaths are caused by infections. In low-income countries, many more women suffer from ill-health due to infections during and after pregnancy. Early infection can be very difficult to diagnose as symptoms may be vague or absent and often women only seek care when infections are more severe. If these types of infection are identified early, their progression to more severe illness or complications for the mother and her baby can be prevented.

Our partner in Lomé, Togo, Dr Dankom Bakusa has commented: “We are delighted to be working with CMNH to assess the health needs of women related to infection. We have just finished training research assistants in the data collection process and look forward to seeing how the study will help to inform local policy on how to better detect and treat common infections in women during and after pregnancy”.

Dègninou Yehadji also said: “The LSTM team in Togo is excited to contribute to the SIRS research project’s implementation. Everyone is mobilized to make it successful. It is important to us because it will help elucidate the infections that Togolese women suffer from during and after pregnancy.”

This project is being funded by The British Maternal and Fetal Medicine Society (BMFMS) as part of Dr McCauley’s Fellowship in Maternal and Newborn Health.