What is the FAST-M study?

The FAST-M feasibility study will determine whether the introduction of a maternal sepsis care bundle is feasible in a resource-poor country such as Malawi.

The intervention that will be introduced during this study is threefold:

1)      An early warning score and FAST-M decision tool – to help healthcare practitioners recognise and diagnose sepsis quicker and more easily

2)      A FAST-M treatment bundle – to guide healthcare practitioners through the initial management of maternal sepsis

3)      A training programme – to educate healthcare practitioners identify maternal sepsis and use the early warning score and FAST-M decision/treatment tools provided during the study

The study will take place across 15 health facilities in Malawi (comprising of health centres, Community and District hospitals) and will last for one year.

Should this study demonstrate that the introduction of the maternal sepsis care bundle is feasible, a larger multi-country randomised control trial will be conducted to evaluate whether the maternal sepsis care bundle reduces maternal morbidity and mortality from sepsis.

Why is this study needed now?

In Malawi, post-partum sepsis accounts for 9.9% of all maternal deaths. A report on the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths in Malawi, found there to be deficiencies surrounding the prompt recognition and inadequate management of maternal sepsis. The report concluded that the use of an early warning score, a structured approach to patient monitoring along with an educational programme to improve recognition of maternal sepsis would likely improve sepsis care and maternal outcomes.

In high-income countries studies have shown this approach to be associated with improved patient outcomes however none of these approaches are specific to a maternal population or designed with a resource-poor setting in mind.

The development of a maternal sepsis bundle has been identified was an international priority action for the next five years by Jhpiego. 

How is the trial being organised?

The University of Birmingham is acting as a sponsor for the study and Dr David Lissauer is the Chief Investigator. An in-country implementation partner, Parent and Child Health Initiative Trust (PACHI), supported by the UK team, will oversee the day to day conduct of the trial and will collect the required data.

Anything else?

If there are any other questions you would like to see answered on this page, please email the team at   FAST-M@contacts.bham.ac.uk