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Preventing childhood injuries in African countries: A randomised controlled trial of baby safety boxes.


Dr Margie Peden

Prof Robyn Norton


Injuries are a leading cause of death among children around the world. Globally, nearly 650,000 children under the age of 15 years lose their lives every year to injuries and violence. Most of these injuries can be prevented through well-known primary prevention strategies. Injuries that occur in the home to children under the age of 5 years such as burns, falls, drowning, poisoning can be prevented through home visitations by health care workers and the provision of appropriate safety equipment such as childproof containers, stairgates, electrical covers, etc. A number of studies conducted in high-income countries such as Canada, Finland and the United Kingdom, have shown there are significant reductions in child injuries following the provision of such safety equipment combined with awareness raising.

Two African countries will be selected for the intervention and partnerships developed with the ministries of health and education, civil society and local academics. The study will be conducted in two phases: The first phase will assess what safety equipment is appropriate in the selected African countries through a qualitative design which will include focus groups, in-depth interviews and an availability and affordability study. Based on the outcome of this formative work, an appropriate “baby box” of safety equipment and educational material will be developed. The impact of the intervention will be assessed through a cluster randomized controlled trial stratified into the full “baby box” of equipment plus educational material, versus some equipment only with the third arm receiving just the educational material. Results will be discussed with policymakers in the two countries with potential to include this intervention in their mother and child policies in the future.

A DPhil student is sought to lead the study in collaboration with academics from the two African countries.


This project is suitable for a candidate with a background in Public Health or Epidemiology and an interest in injury prevention. The project is also suitable for a student with a medical background with a strong understanding of injury epidemiology. Experience with statistical packages such as Stata, R and NVivo is required, however, opportunities for additional training in epidemiological design as well as qualitative and quantitative analysis will be provided.

The project will be part of the global injury programme at The George Institute for Global Health UK. The research team, which has expertise in interventional research and working in Africa, will provide individual supervision and support to an enthusiastic doctoral student. Opportunities for conference presentation, publication in high-impact journals and grant writing will be supported. The project will also include significant interaction with researchers, health workers, policymakers and civil society in at least two African countries.

As well as the specific training detailed above, students will have access to a wide range of seminars and training opportunities through the many research institutes and centres based in Oxford.



A funding grant will be submitted to the Fondation Botnar in October 2018.