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Child Health Evidence Week, 21-25th June 2010.
‘Strong ties between government and research institution help develop 2010 guidelines for care of Kenyan children and newborns.’
Improving the care of Kenyan children and newborns by using up to date information could help Kenya meet its Millennium Development Goal 4 target of reducing childhood deaths by 2/3rds by 2015. Although progress is being made to reduce child deaths Kenya still needs to reduce rates from 74 per 1000 babies born alive who die before they are 5 years old by 50% (i.e. to 37 per 1000) to meet targets in 2015.
The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is a Kenya government parastatal with the responsibility for health research to improve the health of Kenyans. It is one of the most well developed national research institute in Africa with a network of centres across Kenya such as the Centre of Geographic Medicine Research Coast (CGMR-C) that is home to the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme.
One group within the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme focuses on the health care provided for children and newborn infants, particularly in rural hospitals, and has worked closely with the ministries of health for many years.
This collaboration between government and the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust resulted in their jointly hosting the first Child Health Evidence Week in 2005 – a unique event that brought together researchers, clinicians, nurses, clinical teachers and policy-makers to see how research evidence could be used to help define some best clinical practices for hospital care of children and newborns. The best practice guidelines resulting from this meeting were published by the government in 2006 as a simple to use booklet and 14,000 copies have been produced and distributed since.
The guidelines were also used as the basis for developing a training course – called ETAT+ - that has helped more than 1000 Kenyan health workers and more than 700 medical students learn about them and develop essential, life support skills (for more information see www.idoc-africa.org, ETAT+ stands for Emergency Triage Assessment and Treatment plus Admission Care).
However, time moves on and new knowledge is continually being produced. Recognizing this, and keen to ensure that Kenyan health workers have access to guidelines that are supported by up to date evidence, the Ministry of Medical Services and the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme are again collaborating to put on the 2010 Child Health Evidence Week.
From 21st to 25th June 2010 more than 50 experts from Kenya joined by experts in evidence based medicine from UK and Norway, and observers from Uganda and Rwanda will gather at KEMRI’s Mbagathi Road Headquarters to deliberate on what is new in the research field and how best to use this research to help health workers deliver the best care for children and newborns.
The meeting deliberately targets those conditions that are common and cause the most deaths. These include: pneumonia, diarrhea and dehydration, malaria, meningitis, severe malnutrition, severe infection in newborn babies and preterm-birth.
At the meeting experts that include researchers, policy-makers, those responsible for training doctors, clinical officers and nurses and those responsible for providing care in Kenya’s hospitals will hear what the latest evidence is. The presentations will be made by a team from KEMRI-Wellcome Trust, University of Nairobi and the Ministry of Medical Services who have been working together for 8 months in preparation for this meeting.
The team is probably the first in Africa to use the latest techniques to evaluate the research evidence available and consider its applicability to the Kenyan context. After listening to the reports on the evidence participants will be able to discuss what is most appropriate for Kenya and give their views on the best guidelines.
After the workshop the Ministry of Medical Services in partnership with the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and others aim to produce new guidelines and distribute them widely to health workers in the country’s hospitals to help promote best practice for the major killers of Kenyan children and newborns.
For more information and to download the presentations, evidence summaries and mini reviews, visit