Kenya ranks 52nd overall in global child mortality, and Kisumu has suffered from particularly high rates of child mortality and maternal deaths. To better understand the reasons for this, Kisumu was selected as a CHAMPS site that was officially launched on May 10, 2017, alongside the ongoing Kenya Mortality Study (KMS).
Running CHAMPS and KMS has required the collaboration of many partners, including the Kenya Mortality Research Institute (KEMRI), Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOORTH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University, Task Force for Global Health, QED (https://qed.ai), and the community health volunteers in Manyatta and Karemo.
Both CHAMPS and KMS aim to determine underlying causes of death. When deaths occur in the catchment areas, they are reported by community health volunteers to the mortality surveillance team on the phone. Members of this team then visit the parents in person to confirm eligibility and request consent for these studies. If consent is granted, the bodies are transported to labs where they undergo a wide battery of analyses, including minimally invasive tissue sampling, PCR, HIV/TB/Malaria, and more. The clinical histories of mother and child are also catalogued. In the end, all data is reviewed by medical panels that carefully deliberate on the cause of death, and the conclusions are sent to the parents, to help bring closure to these events. Data from these studies is also used to compare the effectiveness of different methodologies, such as verbal autopsy vs. full autopsy, and anonymized data will help national organizations determine future health policy.
We thank all our partners for allowing us the opportunity to work on this meaningful project and welcome continued collaborations in the future.