CHAMPS Selects Three Sites in Africa to Begin Collecting Data about the Causes of Childhood Illness and Death

The Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network, an initiative that includes the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) at The Task Force, has selected three initial sites in South Africa, Mozambique, and Mali to gather data about the causes of serious illness and death for children under 5 years old.

Every year, nearly six million children under the age of 5 die, mostly from preventable circumstances including pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria – and primarily in the world’s low- and middle-income countries. CHAMPS, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Emory Global Health Institute, is establishing a network of sites in Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia to collect high-quality data that can be shared across a range of partners and stakeholders for understanding and preventing the causes of childhood mortality.

PHII is the lead informatics partner responsible for developing the data system that will be used to capture and disseminate surveillance information from CHAMPS sites to scientists, health officials, and others. This information will help inform and catalyze advocacy, research, and other actions to reduce levels of childhood mortality.

“These first sites are very experienced and have good infrastructure in place to support the data collection that will take place in these countries,” said Tim Morris, chief information officer of the CHAMPS Network and a Task Force staff member. “We’ll do a lot of learning in these locations that will help us determine how we move forward with building the rest of the CHAMPS network.”

As part of the process in determining causes of child deaths, CHAMPS will convene a panel of medical experts with specialties in infectious diseases, pediatrics, pathology, and microbiology to review information about each death and come to consensus on the causes. PHII will be responsible for organizing and presenting information from multiple sources in a format that is useful to this panel.

CHAMPS selected the initial sites through an intensive process, which was driven by criteria such as an under-five mortality rate of more than 50 deaths per 1,000 live births; a population of at least 100,000 people; acceptance of common protocols; and willingness to share both data and specimens with CHAMPS, its partners, and other stakeholders around the world.

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