- To address the current scarcity of research on congenital anomalies, particularly from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), by undertaking the first large series, geographically comprehensive multi-centre prospective cohort study of congenital anomalies across the globe. Such data is vital to inform advocacy efforts and global health prioritisation.
- To identify factors affecting outcomes of children with congenital anomalies to improve care.
- To enhance research capacity amongst collaborators and combat the huge disparity in research outputs between low-, middle- and high-income countries at present.
- To form a global paediatric surgical research collaboration to enable further research and intervention studies aimed at improving outcomes.
Why congenital anomalies?
In 2015, the Global Burden of Disease Study reported that congenital anomalies have risen to become the 5th leading cause of death in under 5-year olds globally. In real terms, this equates to almost half a million deaths/ year, with 97% of those deaths in LMICs.
At present, there is a stark scarcity of research on congenital anomalies from LMICs. Taking congenital diaphragmatic hernia as an example, we could identify just 14 studies on this condition from LMICs. Yet hundreds of studies have been published on the same condition from high-income countries. In addition, the LMIC studies that have been published are mostly single institution, small series, retrospective studies.