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Large-scale studies of paediatric admissions are helping to clarify the spectrum of diseases affecting young children in Kilifi, and pointing the way to improved treatments for the severely ill.
The KEMRI-Wellcome Programme is closely linked to Kilifi District Hospital, which sees more than 5000 paediatric admissions a year. This link provides the basis for a comprehensive clinical surveillance system and underpins the Programme's activities into severe childhood illnesses. Although the children's ward is run and maintained by the District Hospital, extra staffing and resources come via the Programme.
Intensive studies of severely ill children are carried out in a separate well-equipped high-dependency unit. Clinical studies provide a clear description of the nature and importance of life-threatening syndromes within the context of a rural African hospital. The high-dependency unit also provides facilities for sophisticated research to be carried out safely, and has been selected for multi-centre clinical trials.
One of the earliest and most substantial pieces of work carried out at Kilifi was a landmark series of studies mapping out local patterns of disease - an area that, somewhat surprisingly, was not well researched in the African context.