Global WACh


March 3, 2023

Researchers convene in Nairobi, Kenya on future childhood development research

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Group photo of several investigators from Kenyatta National Hospital, University of Nairobi, and University of Washington.

A two-day convening in January in Nairobi, Kenya brought together over 30 investigators from a variety of Kenyatta National Hospital, University of Nairobi, and University of Washington studies that include components of assessing childhood neurodevelopment and mental health. This meeting provided a forum to understand how to leverage the recently awarded Impact of Microbiome, Immune Activation and Drug on Neurodevelopment (MIND) Program for ongoing and future childhood development research. Over the course of the meeting, attendees discussed and prioritized the activities for a new MIND Center of Excellence (CoE) that builds off the program. To briefly summarize, the activities include: (more…)

March 2, 2023

New study focuses on immune function to improve treatment of severely malnourished children worldwide

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Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) remains a global public health emergency, especially among young children in limited resource settings who are not consuming enough energy, fat, protein, and other nutrients to maintain healthy bodily functions. This places children at high risk of life-threatening infectious diseases, such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Severely malnourished children are often treated at inpatient and outpatient hospital clinics or feeding centers, using protocols promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Treatment currently focuses on initial recovery as defined by anthropometric standards without adequately addressing the health of children after discharge from treatment programs. (more…)

August 18, 2022

DeWorm3 generates evidence about the cost, acceptability, and optimal delivery of community-wide mass drug administration

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A community sensitization meeting in Benin. Photo courtesy of DeWorm3.

The DeWorm3 Study is an ongoing series of community cluster randomized controlled trials that use a community-wide drug administration (cMDA) approach to determine whether deworming both children and adults can disrupt the transmission of soil-transmitted helminth (STH), or parasitic intestinal worms, across multiple geographies including India, Malawi, and Benin. Achieving high coverage in DeWorm3 is therefore essential to improve the impact of cMDA and limit transmission of STH infections that can result in disabling chronic conditions, delayed growth and cognitive development, severe social stigma, and lost economic productivity.

The DeWorm3 research team recently published three new publications in BMJ Open and BMC Health Services regarding cMDA implementation with findings on the optimal implementation packages for delivering high coverage cMDA for STH, the costs of cMDA vs school-based deworming (SBD), and the implementation climate for cMDA for STH. (more…)

March 23, 2022

Safe and dependable outpatient treatment for infants experiencing malnourishment

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Global WACh is pleased to feature a new publication: “Community-based management of acute malnutrition for infants under 6 months of age is safe and effective: analysis of operational data” by Global WACh faculty Dr. Indi Trehan and UW coauthors Drs. Maeve M Woeltje and Mark J Manary, was featured in Public Health Nutrition December 2021 edition. The study utilized operational data from outpatient feeding clinics in Malawi, which was analyzed in order to evaluate the success of infant recovery under the community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) model. (more…)

October 19, 2021

Joint Nairobi- and Seattle-Based Project Aims to Develop Universal Newborn and Early Childhood Hearing Screening in Kenya

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Researchers from the University of Nairobi, Departments and of Surgery and of Pediatrics and Child Health, Kenyatta National Hospital, the University of Washington Department of Global Health and Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science, and Seattle Children’s Research Institute, are working on the TUNE project: Toward Universal Newborn and Early Childhood Hearing Screening in Kenya. TUNE aims to generate evidence that could allow the development and scale-up of ear and hearing health assessment for newborns and young children in low- and middle-income countries. These goals are consistent with WHO’s recently released “World Report on Hearing”.

TUNE researchers and stakeholders convened in Kenya in September 2021.


May 18, 2021

Analysis of implementation costs of a nutrition intervention in Malawi childcare centers published in Food and Nutrition Bulletin

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Women, infants, and children need the right quantity and diversity of nutritious foods to support healthy growth and development and to prevent an intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.  Meeting this complex need requires coordinated efforts across sectors; however, there is a wide information gap on costs and cost-effectiveness of implementing nutrition intervention strategies that combine agriculture, health, and nutrition components.

As part of the Strengthening Economic Evaluations for Multisectoral Strategies for Nutrition (SEEMS-Nutrition) initiative aimed to fill this gap, Dr. Carol Levin (Clinical Associate Professor, Global Health) and researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) examined the costs and benefits of an integrated nutrition and agriculture intervention designed to improve the nutritional quality of meals provided through Malawi’s community-based childcare centers (CBCCs)—finding its estimated benefits (assessed as part of a related impact analysis) outweighed the intervention costs. (more…)

February 23, 2021

Researchers receive award to explore low-cost hearing testing technology for universal hearing screening for children in Kenya

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Dr. Irene Njuguna, Dr. Dalton Wamalwa, Dr. Sarah Benki-Nugent, Dr. Grace-John-Stewart

Being hearing impaired as a child can be an uphill struggle on top of the usual trials and tribulations of growing up, learning to make friends, and attending school.  Globally, approximately 34 million children, many living in sub-Saharan Africa, have disabling hearing loss resulting from head trauma, illness, exposure to loud noises, or certain medical treatments.  Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent children from enduring delays in speech, language, social, and academic development.  Due largely to the prohibitive cost of hearing screening equipment (~$7,000 for what is considered standard equipment), hearing screening is rarely conducted in children. (more…)

October 14, 2020

UW, Kenyatta National Hospital, and University of Nairobi researchers receive award to develop HIV screening strategies in Kenya

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As prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programs globally continue to increase reach and effectiveness, fewer children are living with HIV, but a growing proportion has had HIV exposure.  HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) children in sub-Saharan Africa are a rapidly growing population in need of care to ensure their optimal health and well-being.  Compared to HIV-unexposed children, HEU children are more vulnerable to risks of illness and death and may have poorer neurodevelopmental and growth outcomes. (more…)

September 28, 2020

Dr. Sarah Benki-Nugent with UW and University of Nairobi collaborators receive award to build environmental health research capacity in Kenya

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There is very little data on air pollution exposures in sub-Saharan Africa, and even less is known about the impact of this important exposure on early childhood brain development. Dr. Sarah-Benki (Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Health) and a multi-disciplinary team of maternal-child health researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Nairobi lead the Kenya Healthy Home Healthy Brain Project (KHHOP), a research partnership focused on the impact of environmental pollutants on child neurodevelopment in urban Kenya. (more…)

July 29, 2020

Dr. Patty Pavlinac receives NIH R01 grant to explore the roles of enteric pathogens and antimicrobial resistance to improve child health outcomes in SSA

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Children hospitalized with severe illness in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are at high risk of morbidity and mortality following discharge from hospital, but mechanisms driving this vulnerability are poorly understood and there are no recommended interventions specifically targeting the post-discharge period.  Dr. Patty Pavlinac, Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health and Co-Director of Global WACh’s Gut Health and Child Survival Priority Area, is the Principal Investigator of a newly awarded National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant to explore the mechanisms underlying this risk, including how azithromycin—an antibiotic commonly used to treat pediatric infections—affects children’s health and nutritional outcomes in SSA.  The findings will inform the development of interventions to reduce the risk of death, re-hospitalization, and growth faltering following hospitalizations among this vulnerable group of children.


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