Infections contribute to more than half of child deaths in developing countries

Infections contribute to more than half of child deaths in developing countries

News from ISGlobal

Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS), the world’s largest child health surveillance network, has published its initial scientific findings . The new study provides reliable data on the causes of death in children under five years of age and stillborn foetuses in five cities in Africa and Asia. At least one infectious pathogen was among the causes of death in 54% of the nearly one thousand cases analysed. The study, which appears in The Lancet Global Health, was led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), together with Emory University in Atlanta and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Minimally invasive autopsies were performed on 933 deceased neonates, children younger than five years and stillborn foetuses at five sites in Bangladesh, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique and South Africa. This autopsy method, developed several years ago by ISGlobal, allows the cause of death to be determined with high precision through the analysis of postmortem tissue samples. The method does not require highly specialised personnel or equipment.

Notably, the authors of the study were able to describe the entire chain of events leading to death. "Rather than focusing on a single underlying cause of death — which in many cases is non-specific — we have provided detailed cause-of-death information that starts with the underlying cause and includes all the subsequent disease stages and processes that eventually led to death", commented ISGlobal researcher Quique Bassat, co-lead author of the study.


Allan W Taylor*, Dianna M Blau*, Quique Bassat*, Dickens Onyango, Karen Kotloff, Shams El Arifeen, Inacio Mandomando, Richard Chawana, Vicky Baillie, Victor Akelo, Milagritos Tapia, Navit Salzberg, Adama Keita, Timothy Morris, Shailesh Nair, Nega Assefa, Anna Seale, Anthony Scott, Reinhard Kaiser, Amara Jambai, Beth Barr, Emily S Gurley, Jaume Ordi, Sherif R Zaki, Samba O Sow, Farzana Islam, Afruna Rahman, Scott F Dowell, Jeffrey P Koplan, Pratima L Raghunathan, Shabir A Madhi, Robert F Breiman, for the CHAMPS Consortium. Initial findings from a novel population-based child mortality surveillance approach (CHAMPS): a descriptive studyLancet Global Health 2020.

More information:
ISGlobal website