“Tremendous progress has been made toward saving the lives of children under 5, except in the early neonatal period, the first week of life, when about 3 million newborns die each year, many with complications of prematurity. Attention to this crucial stage of life will help make progress toward the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality and improving safe motherhood, because maternal, newborn and child health is so intertwined, and a healthy start to life sets the stage for lifelong health.”
—Gary Darmstadt, director of the Family Health Division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The prevalence of preterm birth and stillbirth constitutes a global health crisis resulting in millions of maternal and newborn deaths every year, as well as untold economic and social costs related to health problems for those that survive. Yet startling little is known about the causes of these adverse birth outcomes.
Because of limitations in research targeted at understanding the genetics and biology of normal pregnancy, we have a huge deficit in our knowledge of the causes of stillbirth and prematurity.
This knowledge gap is one of the greatest barriers to developing effective diagnostic, prevention and treatment interventions. Appallingly few practical interventions exist, and without data, researchers cannot conduct the studies that could lead to life-saving prevention techniques and therapies.
Developing a successful array of solutions for adverse birth outcomes urgently requires a broader understanding of normal pregnancy. This is why GAPPS is spearheading one of the largest ever research efforts focused exclusively on pregnancy.
We need to close our knowledge gaps before we can close our solution gaps.
In addition to convening global scientific experts around the challenge to methodically study pregnancy and early newborn health, GAPPS is working with partners to close these gaps by:
This is not a job for one or two isolated organizations. It’s a comprehensive global effort uniting researchers, healthcare institutions, citizen’s groups, global health advocates, policy-makers, families and mothers.
“Preterm birth and stillbirth are complex local and global health problems that require an interdisciplinary approach and an international commitment. We are proud to coordinate this effort and serve as a catalyst for innovative solutions.”
— Dr. Craig Rubens, GAPPS executive director
Discovering and promoting basic and translational science in preterm birth and maternal/child health
Defining the global burden of prematurity and stillbirth
Developing evidence-based interventions appropriate to low-resource settings to reduce the burden of maternal and neonatal disease