Maternal and perinatal Health Research Collaboration, India (MaatHRI): methodology for establishing a hospital-based research platform in a low and middle income country setting
Nair M., Bezbaruah B., Bora AK., Bora K., Chhabra S., Choudhury SS., Choudhury A., Deka D., Deka G., Ismavel VA., Kakoty SD., Koshy RM., Kumar P., Mahanta P., Medhi R., Nath P., Rani A., Roy I., Sarma U., V CS., Talukdar RK., Zahir F., Hill M., Kansal N., Nakra R., Baigent C., Knight M., Kurinczuk JJ.
Background: Maternal and perinatal Health Research collaboration, India (MaatHRI) is a research platform that aims to improve evidence-based pregnancy care and outcomes for mothers and babies in India, a country with the second highest burden of maternal and perinatal deaths. The objective of this paper is to describe the methods used to establish and standardise the platform and the results of the process. Methods: MaatHRI is a hospital-based collaborative research platform. It is adapted from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) and built on a pilot model (IndOSS-Assam), which has been extensively standardised using the following methods: (i) establishing a network of hospitals; (ii) setting up a secure system for data collection, storage and transfer; (iii) developing a standardised laboratory infrastructure; and (iv) developing and implementing regulatory systems. Results: MaatHRI was established in September 2018. Fourteen hospitals participate across four states in India – Assam, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The research team includes 20 nurses, a project manager, 16 obstetricians, two pathologists, a public health specialist, a general physician and a paediatrician. MaatHRI has advanced standardisation of data and laboratory parameters, real-time monitoring of data and participant safety, and secure transfer of data. Four observational epidemiological studies are presently being undertaken through the platform. MaatHRI has enabled bi-directional capacity building. It is overseen by a steering committee and a data safety and monitoring board, a process that is not normally used, but was found to be highly effective in ensuring data safety and equitable partnerships in the context of low and middle income countries (LMICs). Conclusion: MaatHRI is the first prototype of UKOSS and other similar platforms in a LMIC setting. The model is built on existing methods but applies new standardisation processes to develop a collaborative research platform that can be replicated in other LMICs.