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Combating a crisis: Global burden of preterm birth can be reduced if critical actions are taken
Date:11/6/2012

New surveys of researchers and funders reveal a lack of consensus regarding researching and developing interventions to prevent prematurity and stillbirth, according to an article published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology ahead of World Prematurity Day on November 17.

Authored by Michael G. Gravett, MD, scientific director of the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), an initiative of Seattle Children's, and Craig E. Rubens, MD, PhD, executive director of GAPPS, the article outlines significant opportunities to enhance research into pregnancy complications and develop solutions to prevent prematurity and stillbirth, which combined take the lives of 4 million babies every year.

"One of the main observations from the technical team was that current research funding is fragmented and uncoordinated, lacking central leadership," the authors write in A framework for strategic investments in research to reduce the global burden of preterm birth. "Funders do not understand where the field is going."

Gravett and Rubens surveyed researchers and funders and found that both parties are equally uncertain about research and development projects that need to be undertaken, and many funders are hard-pressed to support research on the complex problems of pregnancy and childbirth given competing priorities. This lack of consensus provides an opportunity to engage with funders and researchers to recognize the importance of understanding healthy pregnancies and the consequences of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The article proposes that a strategic alliance of funders, researchers, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and others could organize a set of grand challenges centered on pregnancy and childbirth that could yield a substantial improvement in the development and delivery of new and much more effective interventions, even in low-resource settings.

The authors note:
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Contact: Casey Calamusa
Casey.Calamusa@seattlechildrens.org
206-884-1014
Seattle Children's
Source:Eurekalert

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