A Multi - Disciplinary Research Collaboration.

NDI – Mulago

GHU team


Neurodevelopmental outcomes in children with severe malaria (NDI Study)

Principal Investigators:

Dr Robert Opoka, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Makerere University

Prof Chandy C. John, Section of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Indiana University School of Medicine


Cerebral malaria has been associated with long term neurocognitive deficits in African children. We recently documented for the first time that severe malarial anemia that presents with no neurological involvement is also associated with long term neurocognitive deficits in Ugandan children below five years. Cerebral malaria however affects attention, working memory and motors more than severe malarial anemia. This raises the question whether other forms of severe malaria are associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes in young children. In Uganda, cerebral malaria, severe malarial anemia, malaria with respiratory distress, malaria with complicated seizures and malaria with prostration contribute to over 75% of the paediatric malaria admissions in children under five years.


1. Establish functional areas, degree, and risk factors for neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in  children with severe malaria treated with Artesunate

2. Identify the immunologic, metabolic, and nutritional risk factors associated with NDI in children with severe malaria treated with Artesunate


This study will be conducted in Mulago National Referral Hospital and Jinja Regional Hospital. Children from 6-months to 4-years of age will be screened for severe malaria. We will enroll 720 children with the five most common types of severe malaria in Uganda and area and age-matched community children (n=120 for each group). The 6 groups will be children with:

1). Cerebral Malaria (CM)

2). Respiratory Distress (RD)

3). Malaria with Complicated Seizures (M/S)

4). Severe Malarial Anemia (SMA)

5). Prostration

6). Community children from the same neighborhood or extended household as the children with severe malaria (n=120).


Global Health Uganda
Mawanda Road, Plot 667
P.O BOX 33842, Kampala - Uganda
Tel: +256393516707

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