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Audit, research and guideline update
Investigating the early-life determinants of illness in Africa: the Drakenstein Child Health Study
  1. H J Zar1,
  2. W Barnett1,
  3. L Myer2,
  4. D J Stein3,
  5. M P Nicol4
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  3. 3Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health and MRC Unit on Anxiety & Stress Disorders, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. 4Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Professor Heather J Zar, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, 5th Floor, ICH Building, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town 7700, South Africa; heather.zar{at}uct.ac.za

Abstract

Respiratory disease is the predominant cause of illness in children globally. We describe a unique multidisciplinary South African birth cohort, the Drakenstein Child Health Study (DCHS), to investigate the incidence, risk factors, aetiology and long-term impact of early lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) on child health. Pregnant women from a poor, peri-urban community with high exposure to infectious diseases and environmental risk factors are enrolled with 1000 mother–child pairs followed for at least 5 years. Biomedical, environmental, psychosocial and demographic risk factors are longitudinally measured. Environmental exposures are measured using monitors placed at home visits. Lung function is measured in children at 6 weeks, annually and during LRTI episodes. Microbiological investigations including microbiome and multiplex PCR measures are done longitudinally and at LRTI episodes. The DCHS is a unique African birth cohort study that uses sophisticated measures to comprehensively investigate the early-life determinants of child health in an impoverished area of the world.

  • Pneumonia

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