15 newborn research questions that might nip Uganda’s neonatal mortality

Uganda’s newborn research agenda is beginning to take shape following the zeroing on fifteen relevant questions that experts think, if answered, will significantly contribute to the reduction of neonatal deaths.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda calls for reduction of neonatal mortality to less than 12 per 1000 live births in each country.

With funding from Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives Program, the Makerere University Centre of Excellence for Maternal and Newborn Health Research (CMNHR) partnered with the Uganda Paediatric Association to come up with the agenda aimed at contributing to the reduction of neonatal mortality as envisaged under the SDGs.

According to Associate Prof. Peter Waiswa, who leads the CMNHR, once done with the report, next to engage will be the Uganda National Health Research Organisation and present with them what maternal and newborn experts think will help the country realise the newborn targets under the SDGs.

There is an increasing need to guide the limited research capacity and funding to obtain the maximum impact on newborn health, says Prof. Waiswa. Ugandan policy makers and health workers need data to plan for appropriate and cost effective contextually relevant models for newborn care. It is therefore necessary to understand what has been done and prioritize what could be done in Uganda.

The Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) methodology for research agenda setting was adapted. CHNRI is a systematic method used for setting priorities for health research. This methodology had been used in the previous priority setting exercises by WHO on five major causes of child deaths: pneumonia, diarrhea, preterm birth and low birth weight, neonatal infections, still births and birth asphyxia.

Out of the identified and contacted 300 productive newborn researchers and program experts, 104 generated, each three questions (304 in total) that could improve newborn health outcomes in Uganda from 2016-2021.

To find out how the 304 questions reduced to 41 and the eventual 15, watch out for the final report, now being prepared.

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