“Ukatamanga weka utamangisa, tikatamanga awili, tifikapatali" - When you run alone, you run fast. When you run together, you run further - Zambian Proverb

Research and Training Programme

TORCH - Congenital Infection Prevalence and Clinical Impact Study

Mortality rates on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the University Teaching Hospital are exceedingly high, with over 400 deaths per 1000 admissions. Despite the availability of broad spectrum antibiotics many infants appear to die from blood stream or respiratory infections. We hypothesise that congenital or perinatal infections with pathogens which do not respond to the available antibiotics are responsible.The TORCH complex is made up of eight pathogens (6 viral, 1 bacterial, and 1 protozoal) which are known to be a significant cause of morbidity and mortality when transmitted from the mother to the neonate, either in-utero or perinatally. These neonatal infections have been little studied in Zambia, where much attention has been on reducing the rates of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV. We are conducting a prospective observational study with the followiing objectives:

  1. To determine the prevalence of the TORCH complex infections
  2. To evaluate the clinical presentation and short term outcomes of the TORCH complex infections
  3. To evaluate the long term effects of TORCH complex infection on mental and physical development

The TORCH study is supported by "HerpeZ", a Zambian organization which promotes and supports herpesvirus research collaborations in Zambia and accross sub-Saharan Africa