Scientists at the University of Birmingham are leading the development of innovative ways to improve maternal sepsis care. Sepsis occurs when infection leads to life threatening organ dysfunction. As women during and after childbirth are particularly vulnerable it is a major cause of maternal death, disproportionately affecting women in the world’s poorest countries.

Practical approaches

Led by Professor David Lissauer and Professor Arri Coomarasamy, scientists in the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research are developing practical approaches that incorporate the best evidence to reduce maternal deaths from sepsis. We are working with collaborators from a range of low income countries, developing and testing treatments and tools that are simple for clinicians to use on the ground, in resource limited settings.

The treatments and tools include interventions to prevent infections, manage infections better, detect patient deterioration and ensure prompt, correct management of sepsis when it occurs. We are currently testing these approaches across 15 sites, working in partnership with the World Health Organisation, health ministries and local clinicians.

Critical contribution

This work is making a critical contribution to the international focus on reducing maternal sepsis, and is helping to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of reducing maternal mortality to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 births.