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About SickKids

April 29, 2013

SickKids researcher receives Grand Challenges Canada Stars in Global Health grant

SickKids Global Child Health researcher Dr. Shaun Morris has been named a recipient of a Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) Stars in Global Health grant for an  innovative portable toolkit aimed at saving newborn lives [video].

Morris is Associate Staff Physician in Infectious Diseases and Project Investigator in Child Health Evaluative Sciences at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).

This grant will enable Morris to develop and test the toolkit that contains several items that will help reduce infections and identify at-risk, low birth weight newborns. Items in the kit include chlorhexidine lotion for the umbilicus to reduce infection, a sunflower seed-based emollient to prevent skin breakdown, as well as a Mylar blanket with a hood for newborns with or at risk of hypothermia. The kit will be tested in a remote setting in Pakistan by community health workers with the goal of reducing deaths that occur in the first month of life.

“There are over three million neonatal deaths annually and approximately two-thirds are due to infection, low birth weight and prematurity,” explains Morris. “Our project, in collaboration with Aga Khan University, is a designed to bring health care directly to those newborns most at risk. We plan to enroll over 10,000 newborns in the trial and hope to show that we can reduce newborn mortality by over a third for just a few dollars per infant.”

Funded by the Canadian Government, the GCC Stars in Global Health program enables innovators to develop Bold Ideas with Big Impact to improve global health conditions.

According to GCC Chief Executive Officer Peter Singer, "Canada’s commitment to bold ideas with big impact is captured in each of these more than 100 peer-reviewed projects. By matching talent with opportunity, Grand Challenges Canada is contributing to saving and improving lives."

Morris’ research will contribute to Global Child Health initiatives at SickKids. “Dr. Morris has come up with an innovative package (toolkit) of practical interventions that will address preventable causes of newborn mortality. His toolkit is a great example of the kind of focused implementation research being carried out within Global Child Health at SickKids,” says Dr. Stanley Zlotkin, Chief of Global Child Health at SickKids.

Past SickKids recipients of the GCC Stars in Global Health grant include Dr. Diego Bassani for his fetal heart monitor project and Dr. Daniel Roth for his integration of pulse oximetry into the routine assessment of sick young infants at first-level clinics in Karachi, Pakistan. Both Bassani and Roth are active SickKids researchers in Global Child Health.