Research aims to improve health of women, children in developing countries

RTI International will continue research efforts to improve and prevent premature disease and death among women and children in developing countries as part of the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which funds the network, awarded RTI a five-year contract, worth up to $7 million, to continue serving as the data coordinating center for the network. The contract extends work RTI has conducted since 2001, providing training in research methods, statistical leadership, data collection and management for the network.

"Preventable deaths, illness, and disability disproportionately affect poor women and children, especially in the developing regions of the world," said Tyler Hartwell, Ph.D., an RTI statistician and the project manager for the network data coordinating center. "Our research for the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research will help to identify and evaluate interventions in developing countries that will improve the health of women and children."

The network is a collaborative effort where international, multidisciplinary teams of investigators are working to develop, test and adapt cost-effective, integrated biomedical, behavioral, social, and public health interventions to reduce premature morbidity and mortality among reproductive age women and young children in developing countries. The initial research efforts have focused on safe pregnancy and birth outcomes, including topics such as nutrition, birth defects, episiotomies, postpartum hemorrhage, tobacco use, infection and neonatal resuscitation.

The network currently conducts research in Southern Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. The new phase of the project will include research sites in Argentina, Guatemala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Pakistan and Zambia.

NICHD provides programmatic oversight, coordination and assistance to the global network with other co-sponsoring National Institutes of Health participating in specific research studies.

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