Professor Graham Jenkin and Monash Children’s Hospital Neonatologist, Dr Atul Malhotra recently travelled to Lucknow, India to help rollout training ahead of their global collaboration to reduce the incidence of birth asphyxia in low resource settings.
The pair is part of a group of MIMR-PHI and Monash Health researchers including Professor Euan Wallace, Dr Suzie Miller and A/Professor Michael Fahey, working with colleagues at the Community Empowerment Laboratory and King George Medical University on a world-first clinical trial of melatonin skin patches for prevention of cerebral palsy. Melatonin is a hormone found in animals, plants, and microbes and has already been shown to significantly reduce damage from oxygen deprivation in animal studies.
Representing a major step forward for the collaboration, the recent trip was group’s third to the Utter Pradesh capital, described by Community Empowerment Lab (CEL) Director, Dr Vishwajeet Kumar as among the most dangerous in the world for mothers and babies. While there, Professor Jenkin and Dr Malhorta worked with medical research teams and clinicians to set up an education program to train local healthcare providers for their role in the upcoming trial.
A group of 50 local healthcare workers attended the Education Program which will play a vital role in both success of the study and the improvement of health outcomes for local infants. Following the program’s initial success, organisers now hope to continue rollout of similar training both within the study area and at similar locations internationally. The team is also exploring the development of a “Mobile App” to supplement and reinforce the training program, since, amazingly, even workers in these rural communities carry mobile phones. The next stage of the collaboration will focus on manufacturing the melatonin patch in preparation for commencement of the clinical trial in the rural clinics around Lucknow.