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Manisha Nair: Investigating the feasability of an obstetric surveillance and research system in Assam, India


I am Manisha Nair, from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, and I received John Fell Funding.

What is an obstetric surveillance and research system?

An obstetric surveillance and research system is used to study rare, but severe complications during pregnancy and childbirth in order to prevent and treat them adequately. These systems mainly exist in high income countries, where the number of maternal deaths are low. The UK Obstetric Surveillance System is one of the first established at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit.

What did John Fell Funding allow you to do?

The John Fell Fund helped us to test the feasibility of setting up an obstetric surveillance and research system in India modelled on the UK Obstetric Surveillance System. The context, size, population and health care system in India is much different from in the UK, so we knew that we couldn’t use the UK system as such without modifying and adapting it. The John Fell Fund helped us to do this. It also provided me the opportunity to develop skills and track record in order to transition into research independence.

What successes have you had?

The pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of setting up the surveillance and research platform in India, and also generated important hypothesis. Based on the lessons learned, we have modified this system into a larger UK-India collaborative platform for maternal and perinatal health research, called MaatHRI, which means ‘mother’ in Sanskrit. This system has been established in the two participating hospitals in India, and I have recently received Medical Research Council Career Development Award to scale up this system from two hospitals to eighteen hospitals across India.