In September 2019, Liverpool was the host city for the 2019 European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health. 1500 researchers gathered from across the globe to discuss research and innovation in the field of tropical medicine and global health.
Dr Helen Nabwera, Senior Clinical Research Associate – Neonatology at CMNH also presented at the conference. She presented a poster that describes the feeding practises of very low birth weight (vLBW) infants in neonatal units in Nigeria. This research was based on a survey among paediatricians from 37 neonatal units across Nigeria that was led by Dr Olukemi Tongo, Consultant Neonatologist, University College Hospital, Ibadan. The key finding was that there was marked variation in feeding practices between different neonatal units, which has implications for the survival and long-term growth and developmental outcomes for the babies. These data have enabled us to identify research priorities and design feasibility studies for feeding interventions aiming to improve the survival, growth and development of vLBW infants in resource-poor settings.
Dr Nabwera also delivered an oral presentation describing the burden of neonatal disease in 7 neonatal units across sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria and Kenya). This network of neonatal units had a shared clinical database that they used to enter routine clinical data over a 6 months period. Electronic linkage of clinical databases identified a high burden of maternal and neonatal illness including pregnancy induced hypertension, antepartum haemorrhage, neonatal sepsis and birth asphyxia. In addition, 2/3 of neonatal deaths occurred in vLBW infants.