In November, The CHAIN Network gathered at Makokola Retreat Center in Nkopola, Malawi for the 2nd CHAIN Annual meeting. In attendance were advisory board members, Nigel Rollins, Saskia Van Der Kam and Mark Manary; as well as Maureen Kelley, our ethics advisor; Nicole Benson, our Gates Foundation program officer; and Victor Owino from the International Atomic Energy Agency. This was the largest CHAIN meeting to be held since the Network started in September 2015.
Site leaders presented their experiences in the implementation of the core protocol, which led to important strategic discussions to address specific site challenges, while maintaining harmonization across sites. The focus was on enrollment, sample collection and data quality for the main CHAIN Cohort.
A key objective of the Annual Meeting was to get feedback from the CHAIN Advisory Board. CHAIN advisers led several sessions, provided guidance and prioritized the development of interventional trials. The Advisory Board also challenged the Network to work at the highest ethical and scientific level and to deliver a high standard of care to all participants. They also to track secular changes such as temporal environmental, economic and policy changes at the sites. The meeting closed out with an encouraging message from the Advisory Board, noting The CHAIN Network’s unique position given the resources available, range of study sites and the variety of expertise involved, to advance the clinical management of children presenting with acute illness in low-resource settings.
Many of the lessons learnt from the Annual Meeting have already been incorporated into the daily practices of CHAIN. The meeting covered much ground and strengthened CHAIN. We thank all our teams for their quality of scientific expertise and diligence.