The Alliance for Maternal and Newborn Health Improvement (AMANHI) study in Pemba has been established to best characterize population based longitudinal cohort of pregnant women and their babies in sub–Saharan Africa. Our goal is to establish and maintain a bio-bank in resource limited setting in East Africa; develop local capacity around bio-banking and the use of biological samples to explore future hypotheses as new methods and technologies become available to advance knowledge on key adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm births, miscarriages, still births, IUGR and SGA. Population-based bio-banks will help translate -omics discoveries into promising diagnostic, treatment and prevention strategies that can be further tested in intervention trials. The integration of genome-based knowledge into epidemiological and public health research, policies and health services seems to be the most important public health challenge. Having a characterized cohort of pregnancy with all the metadata presents a unique opportunity to investigate clinical, biochemical markers and add these data to the database having metadata, omics data and outcomes of pregnancy both as associations and etiological path analysis.

MOMI Consortium

The Multi-Omics for Mothers and Infants (MOMI) Consortium is an international group of leading experts on maternal, newborn, and child health, and innovative ‘omics’ technologies working together to accelerate solutions for adverse pregnancy outcomes and optimize health for mothers and infants in low-and-middle income countries (LMICs). This unique collaborative effort supports the consolidation of data from high-quality cohort studies and biorepository platforms with the aim of accelerating omics-based discoveries and clinical translation using novel analytic and agile clinical approaches. The MOMI Consortium is founded on equitable partnership and is motivated by the urgency to respond to the disproportionate burden of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality in LMICs.
The MOMI Consortium is focused on accelerating solutions to address preeclampsia (PE), preterm birth (PTB), stillbirth (SB), intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), and neonatal sepsis. The MOMI Consortium commits to being adaptable, flexible, and expedient in taking on novel approaches. The MOMI Consortium’s shared purpose is to accelerate the discovery and development of new tools for the prediction, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adverse pregnancy outcomes for the improvement of maternal, neonatal, and child health.
The Consortium has three “strategic goals”:
  1. Perform comprehensive ‘omics’ analysis to identify new biology that informs novel preventative, diagnostic, and therapeutic approaches for priority conditions: preeclampsia (PE), preterm birth (PTB), stillbirth (SB), intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and sepsis.
  2. Create a developmental clock that will provide more precise information on the status of a fetus during pregnancy than is currently determined using current methods of gestational age assessment
  3. Advance the MOMI Consortium’s capacity to risk stratify pregnancies and at-risk newborn into optimal prevention/treatment protocols.

Selenium Consortium:

The International Consortium on Selenium, Genetics, and Preterm Birth is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) funded project to study the potential association between maternal Se concentration and PTB risk using existing samples and data from multiple birth studies. The consortium comprises 17 international pregnancy cohorts across a wide geographic distribution with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) serving as the coordinating hub.

Ki GC Africa (Knowledge Integration Grand Challenges):

This challenge is being launched by Grand Challenges Africa (GCA) – a programme of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) supported through the AAS funding and programmes implementation platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) – and the African Academy of Sciences with the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Knowledge Integration (Ki) initiative. Key areas that have been identified by which to improve maternal and child health in Africa are:
  1. Better care during pregnancy.
  2. Better care at birth.
  3. Better postnatal care for women and their newborns, and
  4. Better hospital care of sick newborns (see report from the September 2018 policy workshop organized by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences).
Nevertheless, developing and validating approaches to foster maternal and child health is challenging due to the complex interaction of biological, environmental, and social factors. Furthermore, policy recommendations for such approaches frequently lack sufficient supporting scientific evidence, while clinical trials are expensive, time-consuming, and increasingly difficult to implement. There is now a key opportunity to accelerate research in this area by establishing robust collaborative research networks in Africa (especially those focused on pregnancy and the peripartum period) and analyzing data from multiple African sources to guide public health recommendations that are data-driven and cost effective.


NUTRI-MAM is a multi-centre trial that will be implemented in 5 countries – three in Asia (Bangladesh, India and Pakistan) and two in Africa (Mali and Tanzania), to determine the effect of (a) Locally Available Foods (LAF) compared to Ready to Use Supplementary Food (RUSF) and (b) microbiota directed supplementary food (MDSF) compared to RUSF, when given to moderately wasted (recent rapid weight loss) children aged 6-24 months presenting to a health facility with an acute illness, on anthropometric recovery. It also aims to determine their effect on sustained recovery at 24 weeks after enrolment along with the effects of a follow-up intervention (food vouchers and continued counselling) compared with standard care.