Cristina Fernandez Turienzo
Cristina is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Women and Children’s Health (Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London) with more than 15 years of clinical and research experience in a wide range of international settings. She has experience in clinical research of tropical and infectious diseases, complex interventions in maternal health, clinical trials and mixed methods implementation research.
NIHR CRIBS is a multidisciplinary group that builds on research partnerships spanning the last 6 years, formalising the partnership between King’s College London and the University of Sierra Leone, and brings many collaborators including the Ministry of Health & Sanitation, iNGO Welbodi Partnership, the National Emergency Medical Services, community based solutions NGO Lifeline Nehemiah Projects, the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences and the Midwifery Schools.
The overall aim is to develop and implement simple, scalable innovations to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality and build research capacity and expertise in Sierra Leone.
We developed a programme of work addressing locally identified maternal health challenges using local pilot data to inform assumptions and feasibility. We created several projects with the aim of improving health outcomes through implementation, practice and policy, alongside sustainably strengthening research capacity and capability. MRC framework, RE-AIM and Proctor’s outcomes will guide nested implementation evaluations.
1) Maternal Health Research. The main work-streams of the programme include:
– CRADLE 5: A stepped-wedge, hybrid type 2 RCT to evaluate the implementation and real-world scale up of the CRADLE device and training across rural Sierra Leone
– 2YoungLives (2YL): A hybrid type 2 cluster pilot RCT to assess the feasibility & implementation of a mentoring scheme from pregnancy through to one-year post-birth for adolescent girls
– APRICOT: An evaluation of shock index as a predictor of morbidity in women with bleeding or infection.
– SIPHRE: validation of a point-of-care creatinine device to detect kidney injury, a preventable cause of maternal morbidity & mortality
2) Research capacity building. We are working together to build research capacity and expertise at individual, institutional and national level, We support 3 PhD students, 3 MPH students and >20 ECRs, plus opportunities for training and development. More than 60 participants (e.g. nurses, midwifes, M&E staff, nutritionists, pharmacists, RAs, data collectors, public health staff, doctors) attended our course ‘Designing Clinical Research’ with an opportunity to develop their own ideas into a research proposal which will be submitted for the competitive awarding of seed funding.
KCL and the University of Sierra Leone, with support from in country collaborators, have partnered to build maternal health implementation and evaluation research and expertise where it is needed most. We believe close partnership and planning will promote uptake & success, strengthen institutional capacity & create a platform for advancement in health projects and services, across all cadres of maternal health provider.