Photo: Pasteur

Child mortality has decreased dramatically over the last ten years. Targeted interventions are an important part of the explanation. The Centre for Intervention Science in Maternal and Child Health (CISMAC), which opens today, pride themselves on further reducing the numbers. The new research centre is a collaboration between the University of Bergen, the Chr. Michelsen Institute, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the World Health Organization, and partner institutions in Ethiopia, India, Uganda, Nepal, South-Africa and Zambia.

-Although child mortality has been reduced, there is still a big risk, particularly among newborns. A large share of the children who die before reaching the age of five, die during the first month of their lives. Many of them do not survive their first day. It is among newborns we have been least successful in reducing child mortality, says Ottar Mæstad, director of the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

CISMAC will work on concrete interventions which can contribute towards the goal of reducing child and maternal mortality rates, such as effective care for low birth weight babies, and close follow up of mothers and their babies during the first days after birth.

The centre has a broad approach in working on child and maternal health. Among the projects is research on how to reduce teenage pregnancy. Capacity building is also an important part of the agenda for CISMAC, and the research projects will be developed and carried out in close collaboration with PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers from cooperating institutions in low and middle income countries.