In this day and age of technology and rapidly developing economies, it seems unimaginable that more than 15,000 children under the age of five die every day. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, it is sadly common for children to not make it past their fifth birthday.
The good news is that partners from around the world came together in 2015 and formed the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network to identify and better understand the health challenges causing these early childhood deaths.
To increase their efforts, CHAMPS, led by Emory Global Health Institute, received a $180 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation earlier in June to continue post-mortem data collection at its seven country sites and to set up new sites in additional countries.
Gathering scientifically valid data on reasons for these deaths is vital. Using that information to find solutions and reduce childhood mortality drives the CHAMPS Network. In order to do that, the information has to be accessible to researchers, ministries of health, public health officials, and key people who will be able to take timely action at the community level and reach those mothers and children who are at-risk.
That is where our Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) provides support. As a member of the CHAMPS Network, PHII is responsible for the development and operation of the information technology network that facilitates the curation, quality assurance, analysis, and dissemination of the post-mortem surveillance data collected for CHAMPS.
Currently, the information technology network has been established with interactive dashboards and datasets being updated monthly at www.champshealth.org. During this next phase of funding, J. Patrick Caneer, PHII’s senior manager for information technology, says that PHII will continue to enhance the system as new testing methods and surveillance data sources evolve and new locations are added to the network.
“Everyone involved with the CHAMPS Network is humbled and enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue this important and innovative work. The PHII team looks forward to continuing our support and innovation as the network seeks to expand surveillance activities and [make] discoveries that will directly contribute to the betterment of child survival for years to come,” Caneer says.
For more information on the new funding, read the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s article about the Emory announcement.