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ISGlobal Consolidates the Research Field in the Diagnosis of Causes of Death in Developing Countries

The CaDMIA-plus project aims to increase the knowledge and use of the minimally invasive autopsy on the ground

Photo: Quique Bassat

Since 2013, an ISGlobal multidisciplinary team has been developing a minimally invasive technique (MIA) for the research into the causes of death in developing countries. In 2016, a new phase called CaDMIA-plus, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was launched in order to improve and implement the MIA tool on the ground.

Knowing the causes of death is crucial for the design of appropriate and efficient health policies and strategies. However, given the lack of stable systems to register vital data, the difficult access to equipped health centres, and the low number of qualified health care workers to perform autopsies, many countries in the 21st century do not yet know what their people are dying from.    

CaDMIA-plus proposes to increase the knowledge and use of the minimally invasive autopsy (MIA) in the field in order to determine the causes of death. The project builds upon the results obtained by the CaDMIA study (2013-2015), also led by ISGlobal, in which MIA was validated as a tool to determine the causes of death, with an efficiency comparable to the complete autopsy.  The MIA technique can be used in rural zones of developing countries by specifically trained technical staff and therefore represents a key step towards facilitating the access to the pathological diagnosis of the cause of death in regions where health systems are weak.    

Specifically, CaDMIA-plus aims to:

  • Pursue the validation of MIA to extend its capacities for the identification of the cause of death in children from developing countries. The possibility of detecting situations that contribute to mortality, such as malnutrition, anaemia or diarrhea will be investigated. 
  • Create a training and research centre for the study of causes of death that will support current or future initiatives in the field. 

“Knowing with certitude what disease caused a patient’s death can help avoid new deaths”, claims Dr. Jaume Ordi, researcher at ISGlobal and principal investigator of the project. 

CaDMIA-plus is coordinated by ISGlobal and developed in the Central Hospital of Maputo and the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM) in Mozambique, as well as the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona and the University of Barcelona. 

In addition, the team collaborates with the CHAMPS project, an international surveillance network on child health and mortality funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and coordinated by the Emory University and the CDC in USA.