Background Congenital and acquired infections not only play major rule in neonatal mortality in Egypt, but also lead to significant morbidities and lifelong handicaps among Egyptian newborns.
Objectives 1) Develop research agenda to study neonatal infections and their impact on neonatal mortality and morbidities in Egypt. 2) Facilitate the assembly of multidisciplinary, multicenter research teams to examine the most critical questions on this agenda.
Methods Through collaboration with Egyptian National Research Centre, authors organised a four-day workshop in Cairo, Egypt, to facilitate the interaction of Egyptian and US experts to achieve above objectives. Authors invited neonatologists, obstetricians, and child health researchers from academic, governmental, and private sectors across the country. A call for abstracts invited participants to share their clinical and laboratory research. Leading neonatologists were invited to share their field experiences and case studies. Authors distributed participants into five diverse teams. Workshop activities included panel presentations, open discussions, and team focused-interactions. While discussing current and emerging aspects of neonatal infections and their impact on neonatal mortality and morbidities in Egypt, each team was tasked to develop research questions to study causes, predisposing factors, and intervention or prevention methods. Findings of each team were verified through whole group revisions. Using epidemiologic and clinical criteria, participants used simple voting to create a consensus on the most critical issues. Each team concluded the workshop by designing a framework for a research project to examine one of these issues.
Results More than forty neonatologists, paediatricians, child health researchers, and obstetricians joined the workshop. Sixteen abstracts were selected for presentation. Eighteen guest speakers shared their experiences from Egypt and the US. Discussions focused on prenatal versus postnatal, early-onset versus late-onset, and hospital versus community acquired neonatal infections. Five topics represented high priorities for research in Egypt: 1) maternal vaginal colonisation patterns and maternal vaginal screening practices for common and emerging pathogens, 2) risk factors associated with hospital-acquired infections in delivery rooms and neonatal intensive care units, 3) antimicrobial resistance among pathogens affecting newborns in intensive care units, 4) education and compliance with infection control measures among staff, and 5) presentation and risk factors for neonatal infections associated with home deliveries. Webinar conferences will be conducted with each team to mature their project. A second workshop will be organised to develop a grant proposal for each research project to be submitted to international funding agencies.
Conclusion To address neonatal infections related mortality and morbidities, stakeholders involved in the care of the newborns in Egypt need to develop a prioritised future research agenda. A central taskforce need to facilitate the assembly of multicenter, multidisciplinary teams across the country to study these issues in collaboration with international expertise and funding resources.