Workshop Introduction

The Programme for Global Paediatric Research
Workshop: Global Perspectives on Birth Asphyxia

May 18, 2005 Washington, DC

This dynamic workshop was held on the day immediately following the related symposium and was attended by 80 physicians and researchers from 27 countries.

Workshop participants were paediatric researchers engaged in academic and/or field work throughout the world. They included representatives of numerous academic institutions; Saving Newborn Lives/Save the Children, U.S.A.; The National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, U.S.A., including The Global Network for Maternal and Child Health Research; The World Health Organization; The International Pediatric Association; The Canadian Neonatal Network; International Collaboration of Neonatal Networks; The Vermont-Oxford Neonatal Network; The International Clinical Epidemiology Network; Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trials in Health Care; and members of paediatric societies from countries around the world.

Alvin Zipursky introduced the workshop by describing the unique nature of the group of participants, which consisted of:

  1. Researchers from around the world, from high, mid and low income countries, all who are interested in the topic of birth asphyxia
  2. Researchers within and outside the academic community, with and without direct experience in caring for patients and studying birth asphyxia in developing countries
  3. Representatives of several neonatal networks including Saving Newborn Lives, Global Network for Maternal and Child Health Research (NICHD). Canadian Neonatal Network, International Collaboration of Neonatal Networks, and VermontOxfordNetwork.
  4. Representatives of international programs such as the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (“Inclen”), Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trials in Health Care (“Practihc”) and WHO.
  5. Members of paediatric societies throughout the world.

Dr. Zipursky indicated that the focus of the workshop was to define research priorities for the study of the global crisis of birth asphyxia and to determine how the group gathered can help move these priorities forward.

The March 2005 Lancet series on neonatal survival (1-4) highlighted the enormous global problem of neonatal disease. One of the major recommendations in that series was that great improvements in neonatal health could be achieved by applying existing healthcare “know how” to the health problems of neonates. Of course, the process of applying what is known in new settings is not easy and, in itself, requires sophisticated research.

The major goals of the workshop were:

  1. To ascertain the current state of knowledge about birth asphyxia in developing regions.
  2. To identify and prioritize research that is needed.
  3. To ascertain what resources are available and what resources are needed to further research into issues surrounding birth asphyxia in developing regions.
  4. To determine how to further the development of international collaborations for the study of birth asphyxia in developing regions.
  5. To determine how the international community of paediatric researchers, and PGPR itself, can best contribute to the health services research needs that exist in the area of birth asphyxia
  6. To determine specific recommendations around which we can draft an authoritiative statement regarding major needs, research priorities, and next steps for the study of birth asphyxia.


 1. Lawn JE, Cousens S, Zupan J; Lancet Neonatal Survival Steering Team. 4 million neonatal deaths: When? Where? Why? Lancet. 2005 Mar 5-11;365(9462):891-900.

 2. Darmstadt GL, Bhutta ZA, Cousens S, Adam T, Walker N, de Bernis L; Lancet Neonatal Survival Steering Team. Evidence-based, cost-effective interventions: how many newborn babies can we save? Lancet. 2005 Mar 12-18;365(9463):977-988.

 3. Knippenberg R, Lawn JE, Darmstadt GL, Begkoyian G, Fogstad H, Walelign N, Paul VK; Lancet Neonatal Survival Steering Team. Systematic scaling up of neonatal care in countries.Lancet. 2005 Mar 19-25;365(9464):1087-1098.

 4. Martines J, Paul VK, Bhutta ZA, Koblinsky M, Soucat A, Walker N, Bahl R, Fogstad H, Costello A; Lancet Neonatal Survival Steering Team. Neonatal survival: a call for action.Lancet. 2005 Mar 26-Apr 1;365(9465):1189-1197.