Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies in Papua New Guinea: The impact of nutrition, malaria and STIs on pregnant women and infants.
In resource-poor regions globally, pregnant women experience high rates of malaria, under-nutrition and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which can lead to maternal morbidity and mortality and in infants, low birth weight (LBW) resulting in a significant number of infant deaths each year.
In these settings, LBW is due to fetal growth restriction and preterm delivery. However the link between nutrition, malaria and STIs and these birth outcomes have yet to be elucidated.
Burnet’s research program in rural PNG, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, is in partnership with the PNG Institute of Medical Research, East New Britain Provincial Government, University of PNG, the National Department of Health, and others.
We have undertaken a longitudinal study of 700 pregnant women attending antenatal care, and followed them through to delivery. Among these women, we will measure markers of nutrition and evaluate micronutrient deficiencies, determine malaria and STIs. The association of nutrition, malaria, and STIs during pregnancy with respect to birth outcomes will then be assessed using epidemiological techniques.
The objective of this project is to determine the major preventable causes of poor maternal health and LBW to enable the development of future interventions to improve health and pregnancy outcomes.