Improving the early diagnosis of neonatal sepsis in Malawi

Congratulations to Dr. Lavoie and his team for their mobile phone app to improve the diagnosis of sepsis in infants in Malawi. Dr. Lavoie’s project is one of 20 Canadian projects that have won funding through Grand Challenges Competition, which is awarding $2 million to Canadian innovators with ideas that address issues of child and maternal health.

The app is low-cost, easy-to-use, and based on specialized blood tests, to assist health care workers and improve the early diagnosis of neonatal sepsis. Over the next 18 months, they will survey 500 infants presenting with a clinical suspicion of sepsis at the Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi, in sub-Saharan Africa. They will collect medical information about their conditions, and their cardiopulmonary stability at the time of initial presentation to the hospital. The use of special personalized blood test done at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute will allow a more accurate diagnosis of infection, which will be essential to develop ways to predict infants at high risk of sepsis.


  • Pascal Lavoie, MD PhD FRCPC; Neonatologist, BC Women’s Hospital; Clinician-Scientist, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute; Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
  • Msandeni Chiume-Chiphaliwali,  MBBS, MSc Trop Paeds (UK), FcPeads ( SA) Head of Paediatrics and child health , Kamuzu Central Hospital, Malawi.P.O Box 149, Lilongwe Malawi
  • Norman Lufesi, Acute Respiratory Infections Control Manager, Community Health Sciences Unit, P/Bag 65 Lilongwe, Malawi
  • Niranjan “Tex” Kissoon, MBBS, MCCM, FRCP(C), FAAP, FACPE; UBC & BC Children’s Hospital Professor in Critical Care – Global Child Health; Department of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, UBC; Clinical Investigator, Child and Family Research Institute
  • Mark Ansermino, MBBCH, MMed, MSc (Informatics), FFA (SA), FRCPC; Professor, Department of Anesthesia, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia; Director, Centre for International Child Health, BC Children’s Hospital – Mobile technology.
  • Matthew Wiens, PhD, Clinical Instructor, Bertram Hoffmeister Postdoctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia
  • Guy Dumont, Dipl Ing, PhD, P Eng; Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science, University of British Columbia
  • Constantin Popescu, MD MSc, FRPCP, FAAP; Neonatologist, PhD Student, Experimental Medicine Program, UBC/BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
  • Jennifer Claydon, BSc, MSc; Study Coordinator, UBC/BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute

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