Virtual Conference - 2021
29 - 30 March

PRE-TERM BIRTH Dialogues - VIRTUAL Meeting


Welcome to the PRE-TERM BIRTH Dialogues Conference

The PRE-TERM BIRTH Dialogues 2021 will be a VIRTUAL conference from 29 to 30th March.

Theme: Addressing the challenges of meeting SDGs related to Maternal and Child Health by mitigating Pre-term Birth in Low- and Middle-income countries (LMICs)

This is a network meeting organized by NIHR Global Health Research Group on the prevention and management of pre-term birth in low- and middle-income countries (PRIME), funded by the UK NIHR Global Health Research programme. The conference will discuss ongoing research regarding the global challenges to attaining the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets for maternal and child health focussing on preterm birth. It will bring together international researchers and leading experts in the field to discuss recent advances and emerging issues. As PRIME is centred around capacity building, we particularly encourage the participation of young investigators and early career researchers from multiple continents to join us as we network, share research findings, dialogue and formulate new research strategies to reduce the burden of PTB in low resource countries.

About This Years' Event

The aim of the meeting is to provide a forum for researchers into preterm birth, across the maternal-fetal ecosystem ranging from epidemiology, social sciences, genetics, immunology, metabolomics, microbiology, diagnostics, prognostics, biomarkers and guideline/policy development, to meet to share their knowledge and findings and to create/strengthen networks and collaborations. This wide and eclectic mix provides a rich blend of disciplines focusing around better prevention of preterm birth and improved care for the premature newborn.

Theme: Addressing the challenges of meeting SDGs related to Maternal and Child Health by mitigating Pre-term Birth in Low- and Middle-income countries (LMICs)

Baby holding hands

Pre-term birth, defined as birth before 37 completed weeks of gestation, is a leading cause of death globally. There are more than 15 million preterm births every year, of which 1 million babies die. Babies that survive preterm birth are at a high risk of short- and long-term disabilities and conditions including infections, visual, hearing and breathing problems. Preterm birth rates are disproportionately higher in low and middle-income countries, and the lack of adequate new-born care leads to increased death rates of pre-term babies. Severe disabilities resulting from preterm birth can pose substantial psychological and financial adverse impact on family to have a significant impact on health systems and have an overall negative impact on families such babies, some parents sometimes having to give up work to care for the disabled child.

This Year's keynote Speakers

Professor Dilly OC Anumba

Dilly Anumba is Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Faculty Director of Clinical Academic Training, University of Sheffield. He is a hospital consultant with subspecialist accreditation in Maternal and Fetal Medicine and directs training in the subspecialty. He runs specialist clinics in Fetal Ultrasound, Prenatal Diagnosis and Fetal Therapy, Prematurity Prevention and Care, and High-Risk Pregnancy. His research interests are translational, focusing on the biology of birth, reproductive immunology and global health inequalities. He holds numerus grants funded by the UK’s Department of Health, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the MRC, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council (EPSRC), all investigating novel approaches to manage preterm birth. He is the Director of the Global Health Research Group on Preterm Birth Prevention and Care (PRIME), in collaboration with researchers in South Africa, Bangladesh, India and Nigeria. He supervises graduate/post-graduate students across a wide range of disciplines. Dilly currently serves on the RCOG Council as International Representative for sub-Sahara Africa and chairs the UK-wide NIHR SPARC scheme of the NIHR Training Academy. He is a member of the college of experts of the African Research Excellence Framework (AREF). Dilly served on the Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Care and Excellence (NICE).

Professor Sarah Salway

Sarah Salway is Professor of Public Health in the Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield. Sarah’s work lies at the intersection of sociology, social policy and public health, with the aim of understanding and addressing the social and political determinants of health and wellbeing. Her work has particularly focused on health inequalities linked to ethnicity and gender, and the processes of identification and in/exclusion operating at policy, practice and community levels that shape health-related experiences and outcomes. Her work on maternal and infant health in the UK and South Asia foregrounds the perspectives of service users. Much of Sarah’s work involves close collaboration with healthcare professionals, policy-makers and third sector organisations, as well as partnerships with community-based groups and local people. She is a member of the maternal health stakeholder group of the newly established NHS Race and Health Observatory.

Professor Anthony Odibo

Anthony Odibo is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA. Previous notable employments were as faculty at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Washington University in St. Louis. He completed his medical training at the University of Benin, Nigeria and trained in Obstetrics and Gynecology / Maternal Fetal Medicine in the UK and USA. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Anthony Odibo also holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania, USA.
Anthony Odibo splits his time between an active clinical practice with focus on Prenatal diagnosis and Fetal therapy as well as research investigating prediction models and the role of the placenta in development of adverse pregnancy outcomes. He is the Medical Director of the Fetal Care Center of Tampa Bay.
Anthony Odibo is the Editor in Chief for Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He has previously served as the Deputy Chief Editor for ACTA and Editor for BJOG and Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is on the Editorial Board for BJOG and Prenatal Diagnosis.

Dr Shivaprasad Goudar

Dr Shivaprasad Goudar is Director-Research of KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi, Karnataka, India. His professional responsibilities encompass the design and implementation of research protocols aimed at improving health outcomes of underserved populations, especially women and children residing in low resource settings. He has led, often as Principal or Site Investigator, many studies funded by the World Health Organization; the National Institutes of Health (specifically the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Fogarty International Center, and the National Cancer Institute); the American Academy of Pediatrics; the Thrasher Research Fund; the Newton Fund (a collaboration between the UK Medical Research Council and the Department of Biotechnology, India; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. The research is particularly focused on postpartum hemorrhage, maternal and infant nutrition, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, birth asphyxia, preterm births and early childhood neurodevelopment.

Professor Virginia Duncan

Virginia Duncan is an Assistant Professor of Pathology, and Section Head of Perinatal Pathology, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She holds Board Certifications in Anatomic, Clinical, and Pediatric Pathology. She received her MD degree from the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed Pathology residency training at UAB, followed by Pediatric and Perinatal Pathology Fellowship training at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington. Her research interests focus on the relationship of placental morphology to pathophysiology, with recent efforts focused on the role of the placenta in intrauterine infections. She currently collaborates in multidisciplinary clinical, educational and research efforts with Maternal Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics, Neonatology, and Genetics Departments. She is also active in the Pediatric and Perinatal Pathology community, serving on the Education Committee of the Society for Pediatric Pathology, and on the Editorial Board for the journal Pediatric and Developmental Pathology.

Professor Joy Lawn

Joy is an African-born, British-trained paediatrician and perinatal epidemiologist with 30 years’ experience especially in sub-Saharan Africa including: clinical care, epidemiological burden estimates, implementation/evaluation of maternal, newborn and child care services. Her paediatric training was in the UK, followed by teaching, implementation and research, mainly living in Africa. Her MPH was from Emory, Atlanta, USA, whilst at CDC, and her PhD at Institute of Child Health, London. For 10 years, she was Director of Evidence and Policy for Saving Newborn Lives/Save the Children.
She is currently Director of the MARCH Centre (Maternal Adolescent Reproductive & Child Health) at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, including more than 400 academics. Her main contribution to global health has been developing the evidence-base to measure and reduce the global burden of 2.5 million neonatal deaths, >2 million stillbirths, and 15million preterm births, including informing Sustainable Development Goal targets. She has published >280 peer-reviewed papers including leading several influential Lancet series, with wide media and policy uptake. She and her research team work on multi-country studies on newborn health, stillbirths and child development worldwide, including NEST360 and novel work on Group B Streptococcus. She is a champion for equitable research leadership. She is one of the few women nominated to membership of both UK Academy of Medical Sciences and USA National Academy of Medicine.

Professor Sudhin Thayyil

Sudhin Thayyil MD, DCH, FRCPCH, PhD is a Professor of Perinatal Neuroscience and the Director of the Centre for Perinatal Neuroscience at Imperial College London, UK. His group leads one of the largest clinical research programs on neonatal encephalopathy in the world, involving over 40 tertiary neonatal units in six countries. His research is focussed on disease stratification using transcriptomic signatures and evaluation of novel neuroprotective therapies in neonatal encephalopathy using advanced magnetic resonance biomarkers. He is the chief investigator of several early and late phase multi-country studies including the COMET (Cooling in Mild Neonatal Encephalopathy), EDEN (Erythropoietin and Darbepoetin in Neonatal Encephalopathy), HELIX (Hypothermia for Encephalopathy in low and middle-income countries) trial and PREVENT (Prevention of Epilepsy by reducing neonatal encephalopathy) study.

Prof Marleen Temmerman

Prof dr Marleen Temmerman is a well-recognized global leader in women, child & adolescent health. Currently, she is Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Aga Khan University Hospital and Director of the Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Kenya. Prior she was Director, Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR), World Health Organization (Geneva, Switzerland).She is the AKU- UNESCO Chair on Youth Leadership in Science, Health, Gender and Education at the Aga Khan University, Chair of the Pumwani Maternity Hospital Management Board, Nairobi County, Kenya, and Chair of the Local Reference Group of the ICPD+25 Nairobi Summit 2019.
She has a strong academic and scientific background with over 600 publications and books in the area of women’s health, Hirsch index 84. She has supervised many PhD students in globally, received several awards and honours for her research and advocacy work. In 2007, elected Senator in the Belgian Parliament where she was member of the Commission on Social Affairs, and Chair of the Commission on Foreign Affairs. Current important affiliations/memberships include: Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in the post-2015 world; Lancet Standing Commission on Adolescent Health, Scientific Advisory Committee of the EDCTP (European and Developing Countries Trial Partnership), Senior Fellow in the Institute for Global Health Diplomacy in Geneva; Maisha Maarifa HIV/SRH Research Hub of the Kenyan National AIDS Control Council (NACC), FIGO Committee on Human Rights, Refugees and Violence against Women.

Dr Nitin Arora

Nitin Arora MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Neonatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He received his MBBS degree from the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Bangalore, India and completed his Pediatric residency at West Virginia University. Thereafter he completed his Neonatology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. In addition, he has completed a Master of Public Health at UAB. His lab is focused on understanding vertical transmission of viral pathogens, with special emphasis on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), HIV and SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Arora’s current project addresses the impact of SARS-CoV-2 at the maternal-fetal interface. Furthermore, correlating these findings with clinical pregnancy outcomes. The overarching goal of his lab is to set up placental model systems to study host-virus interactions. Dr. Arora can be followed on Twitter @nitinaneo.

More Keynote speakers will be added soon!


We now invite abstract submissions of recent/current primary research studies. Abstracts should focus on pre-term birth, stillbirth and related sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health global health issues. Presentations will cover a broad range of disciplines from across the biomedical, clinical and social sciences, as well as multidisciplinary approaches. Data from High Income Countries will be accepted but must consider its relevance to LMICs.

Registration Details


General Admission: Starts 4th January

  • £20.00

General Admission LMIC Delegates: Starts 4th January

  • £10.00




Abstract Invitation

  • Abstracts should be in English
  • Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and must be structured as follows: Title, Authors and Affiliations, Introduction, Aim of Study, Materials & Methods, Results and Conclusions.
  • Abstracts should be submitted by 25 February 2021.
  • Confirmation of acceptance by 7 March 2021.
  • Abstracts will be considered for either Oral or Poster Presentation depending on presenter preference and scores.
  • Accepted presenting authors must register by 6 March 2021.