£2 million grant awarded to premature birth research to reduce child deaths and disability

• Research will help to reduce the amount of preterm birth in low and middle income countries in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations
• Funding will bring improved guidance for antenatal care in order to prevent, recognise and manage preterm birth better.

Premature baby

International research by the University of Sheffield aimed to prevent and reduce premature birth has been awarded a £2 million grant from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).

The grant will be used to establish and run the NIHR Global Health Research Group on Preterm Birth Prevention and Management (PRIME) through the Department of Health and Social Care.

The PRIME group, which is composed of researchers from the University of Sheffield in collaboration with hospitals and universities in South Africa, Bangladesh and Nigeria, will carry out several pioneering studies to better understand how to reduce the problems of child death and disability caused by premature birth.

Premature birth, also known as preterm birth, affects 15 million babies every year worldwide, with over one million deaths occurring as a direct consequence of babies being born too soon.

Preterm birth accounts for more than half of all deaths of children aged five years and under, particularly in low and middle-income countries where preventable and treatable infections contribute to high preterm birth rates.

PRIME’s work will result in important recommendations aimed to address the causes, consequences, prevention and care of preterm new-borns. The group will also work with families, healthcare professionals and policymakers to develop culturally and context-appropriate interventions.

The group is led by Professor Dilly Anumba, Group Director and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Oncology and Metabolism.

Professor Anumba said: “This is a very welcome and hugely exciting opportunity for us researchers at the University of Sheffield to work with colleagues in partner countries to develop practical and effective solutions to improve the healthy survival of premature babies born in communities with fewer resources.

“We are grateful to the NIHR Global Health Scheme for funding this project that promises to improve the health of the pregnant mother and her newborn baby.”

Professor Anumba, added: “This funding will bring improved guidance for antenatal care in order to prevent, recognise and manage preterm birth better, especially in low income communities.

“The main challenge is to develop care approaches that are culturally relevant, scaled to local contexts and are affordable. They must also be acceptable to health care planners, professionals and women.

“This research will help to reduce the amount of preterm birth in low and middle income countries in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.”

Key work will also develop training models for healthcare professionals and mothers to improve preterm newborn care.

The Department of Oncology and Metabolism at the University of Sheffield brings together researchers to translate scientific discoveries into clinically meaningful advances.

For more information, visit: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/oncology-metabolism

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Harry Clulow
Media and PR Apprentice
University of Sheffield
0114 222 1047
h.clulow@sheffield.ac.uk