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Approximately 11 million children from developing countries die before reaching their fifth birthday from serious but often preventable illnesses such as malaria and diarrhoea. To combat escalating mortality and morbidity, the WHO and UNICEF in 1997 developed the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy which has since been adopted as national policy in over 100 low and middle-income countries. Despite improvements in survival when utilised correctly, overwhelmed community health workers with limited access to basic diagnostic tools may struggle to accurately identify children with serious infection causing delays in prompt treatment or urgent referral.  

Supporting Low-cost Intervention For disEase control (Supporting LIFE) is a multi-target intervention exploiting advances in smart mobile technology to circumvent barriers to adequate healthcare and improve diagnostic accuracy.  Consortium partners with expertise in key areas will collaborate to develop an electronic IMCI (e-IMCI) solution integrated with wireless or standalone vital sign measurement devices. The clinical feasibility of the novel application will be piloted by front-line health surveillance assistants in rural clinics in Malawi to identify children under the age of 5 years with signs and symptoms indicating the presence of possible serious infection(s).

Qualitative information evaluating the application’s utility as well as quantitative data on clinical outcomes collected will provide reliable population health data, contributing to the development of a disease surveillance information programme and sustainable and wide-spread dissemination of e-IMCI after project completion that will serve to strengthen existing Malawian disease prevention and control initiatives.

The objectives of Supporting LIFE will be delivered over four years via co-ordinated work packages between collaborators, led by University College Cork. The project is funded under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7).

For more information please contact: Dr Matthew Thompson, Dr Alison Ward and Dr Carl Heneghan or visit the Supporting LIFE webpage: http://www.supportinglife.eu/

Consortium Partners:

  • University College Cork, Ireland
  • Lund Universitet, Sweden
  • Mzuzu University, Malawi
  • Registered Trustees of Ungweru, Malawi
  • Luke International Norway, Malawi