Global research initiative points way to cut stillbirths

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A first-ever global review examining measures to prevent
over 3.2 million stillbirths worldwide was published in a BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
supplement today.

 

Stillbirths are still underreported and largely absent
from data records and national policy-making.
The supplement, entitled Stillbirths – the global picture and
evidence-based solutions
, provides an in-depth analysis of the burden and evidence base for potential
interventions to avert stillbirths, especially in low-income countries.

 

The supplement, funded by Save
the Children
through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, consists of six articles and a commentary.

 

Paper 1 addresses the global
burden, the epidemiology, risk factors and the causes of stillbirths and lays
down the methodology and framework for this worldwide review. Papers 2 and 3 cover the behavioural and medical interventions used
before and during pregnancy, which include interventions targeted at medical
conditions and infections in the mother. Paper 4 focuses on screening and monitoring interventions
during pregnancy and labour, including ultrasound and Doppler studies, managing
maternal diabetes, and partographs and cardiotocography, among others. Paper 5 deals with the evidence of interventions during
labour, while Paper 6 examines health system
solutions, including training health workers in facilities and also at
community level to improve care during pregnancy and childbirth.

 

This collaborative research initiative was led by
Professor Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Head, Division of Maternal and Child Health (Aga
Khan University), with Drs. Gary L. Darmstadt and Rachel Haws from Johns
Hopkins University and Dr. Joy E. Lawn of Save the Children’s Saving Newborn
Lives division.

 

Commenting on the supplement, BioMed Central’s Editorial
Director (Medicine), Dr Melissa Norton said, “BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth is
proud to publish these in-depth reviews as an important first step in tackling
the problem of stillbirths, especially in relation to low-income
countries. The articles address the scale of the issue and discuss
possible solutions to be taken forward.  We look forward to the
impact they will have on public health worldwide.”

  • rzhao

    Dear Shibo,

    Thank you very much for writing such a moving story.  Indeed, we’ll all miss him dearly. I know Teh will also be pleased to see this article and very much appreciative of your kind words and warm thought of him.

    Rich