NIHR Global Health Research Unit on the prevention and management of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

A baby dies before, during or soon after birth, every 16 seconds globally, with devastating impacts for parents. 75% of stillbirths or neonatal deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but research in these settings has been minimal. The new NIHR Unit will bring together leading maternal and newborn health experts to address this huge and largely preventable problem. Our vision is that the Unit will be a globally recognised centre of research excellence, producing effective solutions to end preventable deaths and better support parents/families whose baby dies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Combining resources allows faster progress, capitalising on experience and knowledge to devise, test and put into practice improved strategies for better quality and respectful maternity and neonatal care.

We will generate new scientific knowledge to inform new health care solutions to end preventable stillbirth and neonatal deaths and provide supportive care.

We will:

  1. Develop and evaluate sustainable solutions to strengthen maternity and newborn care and reduce the number of stillbirth and neonatal deaths in high-burden settings.
  2. Evaluate how best to support parents, families and communities who experience a stillbirth or neonatal death and attending health providers.
  3. Strengthen research capacity, with particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on nurses and midwives.
  4. Develop effective ways of transferring new knowledge to settings with high stillbirth and neonatal deaths.

We will work with partners in Sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe) and South Asia (India, Pakistan). Our research, panning pregnancy, birth and post-birth periods, will be distinguished by its family-centred, strong community and stakeholder partnerships, south-south support and ‘fit-for-purpose’ research designs, involving low-cost, sustainable interventions co-developed with front-line workers and women. Developing local researchers’ skills and institutions capacity to lead.

Joint Lead Applicant Details

Professor Dame Tina Lavender, DBE- Lead Applicant

Professor of Maternal and Newborn Health
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Dr Tracey Mills (Co-Applicant)

Senior Lecturer
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Professor Nusrat Husain- (Co-Applicant)

Professor of Psychiatry
The University of Manchester

Professor Nasim Chaudhry (Co-Applicant)

Professor of Psychiatry
Dow University of Health Sciences Pakistan

Research Locations









About Us

SABAR (This is the acronym that we are using for this project locally in Pakistan. SABAR is an Urdu word for endurance that explain a process – whenever someone experiences a bereavement, other people console them by saying that may the soul rest in peace and God give you the strengths/endurance (sabar) to cope with loss)

NIHR Global Health Unit includes 9 workstreams, with a diverse range of studies conducted in 8 countries Pakistan is involved in:

Work Stream 5 Parental Involvement
(India, Pakistan, Tanzania)

Work Stream 6 Bereavement care
(Kenya, Uganda, India, Pakistan)

Work Stream 9 Core Outcome sets

Vision & Mission

To adapt and finalise a co-produced intervention to improve immediate care in facilities and postnatal support after stillbirth or early neonatal death for women and families in India and Pakistan and assess the feasibility of a full-scale evaluation to assess effectiveness.

Community Engagement and Involvement (CEI)

The community engagement and involvement group have been established in the SABAR project. The CEI Group in any research project is established to make the research changes according to the need of the community. In the CEI group, we have those participants who had experienced a stillbirth and neonatal deaths in their lives and we are discussing the research components with the CEI group before taking it to the participants. This group is also actively involved in the development of the Bereavement care program.

CEI Activities in Pakistan

Community Engagement and Involvement (CEI) meeting with CEI members of SABAR project that aims to develop a multi-component intervention to improve care and support for parents after stillbirth or neonatal death in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This was led by Mrs Faryal Sultan (CEI lead). The meeting was also attended by Dr. Tracey A. Mills (Chief Investigator), Dr Natalie Tate (Research Team), Prof Nasim Chaudhry (Principle Investigator) and Pakistan SABAR team on 12 December 2022.

Capacity & Capability

Qualitative research method and observation method in research training organized by PILL.

Dr. Tracey Mills & Dr. Natalie facilitate the training session on 15 December 2022, at the PILL office for the capacity and capability of the research team.

Some Beautiful Highlights

Meeting with team members from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine for Research Initiative

Two days meeting was held on the prevention and management of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in Sharja- UAE

CEI Leads Training in Lilongwe (Malawi)