Project information

The right tools to combat global maternal sepsis

1 in 3 women in low-income countries who develop severe sepsis during pregnancy or childbirth will die due to a lack of basic, context-appropriate sepsis care. We will develop a pioneering and life-saving maternal sepsis immediate care kit for use by health professionals to save mothers’ lives.

January 2016 - December 2016

Charity information: Ammalife

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  • Need


    Sepsis is a life-threatening condition triggered by infection. 1 in 3 women who develop severe sepsis during pregnancy or childbirth in low-income countries will die. ‘Sepsis 6’ is a care kit made up of 3 investigations and 3 therapies started within 1 hour of the patient being seen. It’s urgent, clear to follow and proven to save lives across the developed world. But the kit is dependent on skilled staff, lab facilities and the right drugs, in low-income countries these are in short supply.


    We will develop a similar immediate care kit of proven interventions to combat life-threatening maternal sepsis in low-income settings. This project is for the seed funding to start this collaboration with mothers and health professionals in low-income settings and the Global Sepsis Alliance, UK Sepsis Trust and WHO. Without this ground-breaking, preliminary research, it won’t be possible to gain the backing for large-scale clinical trials with the scientific rigour to change practice worldwide.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop a low-income maternal sepsis care kit which is ready to pilot and evaluate on the ground


    » Conduct a comprehensive review of all available medical evidence for each component that may form part of a low-income maternal sepsis care kit
    » Form consensus on care kit components amongst a wide group of stakeholders from low-income countries and the global sepsis community
    » Refine and finalise components of the care kit using feedback from key stakeholder interviews to assess feasibility in a low-income setting

    Success will be thorough research work carried out on time, with the full input of all partners, to enable the next phase (piloting) to take place as programmed

    Aim 2

    Design practical implementation toolkit to enable health professionals to use the care kit in situ


    » Develop a practical toolkit of resources (training and teaching materials) with local partners to support the successful adoption of the care kit

    Success will be positive feedback from health professionals in low-income countries who have completed training and are using the care kit to save lives

  • Impact


    If this sepsis care kit, appropriate to low-income settings, is found to be effective in eventual clinical trials we anticipate wide-scale adoption in low-income countries. This project therefore has the potential to significantly increase the survival rates of women with maternal sepsis (by up to 40%), saving millions of lives worldwide. The success of these changes will be demonstrated by a direct correlation between the use of the sepsis care kit and improved survival outcomes in sepsis.


    Risk: Unavailability of experts and local partners to inform the design of the care kit. Mitigation: There is a strong global maternal health research group based at the University of Birmingham with an active research network of academics and local teams in low-income countries, including Malawi and Tanzania. Risk: The care kit will be ineffective. Mitigation: Rigorous evaluation at each stage will ensure the kit is optimised so we can be confident that the intervention is effective.


    Ammalife has an excellent track record of providing timely, informative and accurate feedback to donors. We will provide regular feedback on our progress. Information will also be published on our website and via our social media,

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £12,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,500 Activity 1.1 Desk-based review of all medical evidence
      £3,500 Activity 1.2 Research with multiple stakeholders (UK & overseas)
      £1,000 Activity 1.3 Key stakeholder interview and analysis (UK & overseas)
      £5,000 Activity 2.1 Development of training and teaching materials (UK & overseas)

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Ammalife regular giving (standing orders from individuals) £3,000 Guaranteed
    Major Donor £7,000 Conditional
  • Background


    From our base at Ammalife’s Academic Department at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, we will be leading a team involving the Global Sepsis Alliance, the UK Sepsis Trust, members from the World Health Organisation, collaborators from our international global maternal health network and in Malawi and Tanzania the ministries of health, academics and grass roots clinicians to develop the maternal sepsis care kit to improve sepsis care for mothers in low-income countries.


    Women in low-income countries who develop maternal sepsis will benefit from this project as they will gain access to an effective care kit which has the potential to save their lives. Few babies survive the deaths of their mothers in such contexts which is why saving mothers will also save their children. Health professionals on the ground will also benefit as they will be equipped with robust and practical guidance on which to base their care of women with pregnancy-related sepsis

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Ammalife is a specialist, research-driven organisation committed to tackling obstacles to good maternal health in the poorest parts of the world. Our research is contributing to important discoveries which are profoundly changing practice and improving outcomes for mothers whose health rights are denied. Everything we do is designed to build on the strengths and capacities of local people to enable them to find economic, culturally appropriate, and sustainable solutions to their problems.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Professor Arri Coomarasamy

    Consultant Gynaecologist. Leads global maternal health portfolio at the School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Birmingham (UoB).

    Dr David Lissauer

    Clinical lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UoB. Leads a major global maternal health trial to reduce miscarriage surgery-related infection.