Maternal and Child Health Research

Funded by R0-1 and U0-1 grants from the NIH and additional local support, Dr. Panigrahi has conducted large scale surveillance of morbidity in neonates and children in India.

These research efforts span from preterm birth, birth asphyxia, sepsis and pneumonia in children to nutrition in pregnancy, post-partum hemorrhage and bacterial vaginosis in women. Intervention studies at these sites included development of training modules and capacity building of physicians and paramedical personnel, other socio-behavioral interventions, and laboratory research.

Neonatal and Infant Infection and Probiotics Research:

Worldwide, about 4 million neonates die every year; 99% of these die in developing countries. One fourth of these deaths are due to infection including invasive disease (sepsis) and pneumonia. Accomplishing MDG-4 goals are heavily dependent on averting these deaths. Even after the neonatal period, during infancy and early childhood, infections including diarrhea constitute bulk of the morbidity. Lacking Antibiotics are typically used to treat such infections, but the cost and logistics in hard to reach areas pose serious impediments in the delivery of such treatment. This is also confounded by the burgeoning problem of antibiotics resistance worldwide and limits the ability to provide optimal treatment in resource constrained settings.

Dr. Panigrahi’s team has worked on various aspects of these infections and recently completed the largest clinical trial of probiotics in an effort to prevent neonatal infections. This $3M study funded by an R0-1 grant from NIH enrolled 4556 neonates in India was topped early by the DSMB due to demonstration of unequivocal efficacy against infections including sepsis, pneumonia, and diarrhea.