current projects

CVD-Mali is currently engaged in two large scale trials of azithromycin for child survival, one, SANTÉ, in the Sikasso region, the other, LAKANA, in the Kayes, Kita and Koulikoro regions of Mali. Both studies, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, seek to ascertain the most effective method of administering azithromycin to reduce the burden of death and mortality on mothers and children.

We are also undertaking important qualitative research, with ICRW, to lead much-needed change in Mali's sexual and reproductive health provision and continue our long-standing partnership with Champs, the child health and mortality prevention surveillance network.


The CHAMPS network, run by the Emory Global Health Institute at Emory University, is about better identifying and understanding the causes of death in children under 5 years old in areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where infant and childhood mortality are very high. This identification and understanding can, and will, help countries, public health programs, and local and global child health advocates and policymakers in their efforts to prevent childhood deaths and illness.

The CHAMPS Network uses innovative approaches to generate and share knowledge that improves understanding and prevention of child mortality.

CHAMPS’s study site in Mali – the study’s largest site apart from South Africa – is administered and operated by CVD-Mali in conjunction with the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.


LAKANA is a large-scale trial being conducted in the Kayes, Kita and Koulikoro regions of Mali, to determine whether the mass administration of azithromycin antibiotic to asymptomatic children can reduce the high mortality rate of children  aged 1 to 11 months.

The LAKANA trial is being carried out by CVD-Mali in collaboration with Tampere University, Finland. It combines mass drug administration of azithromycin with implementation research, to ascertain the most effective model for distributing azithromycin to infants aged 1-11 months.

Both the LAKANA and SANTÉ trials are a perfect fit with the Malian government’s key areas of health reform and other ongoing research by CVD-Mali – namely the focus on free maternal healthcare and care for children under five years of age.


The SANTÉ trial, carried out in collaboration with the University of Maryland, Baltimore, will assess the efficacy of oral azithromycin, given during routine health care visits, in preventing stillbirths and mortality through 6-12 months of age in Mali. This individually randomized placebo-controlled double-masked trial will see pregnant women receiving a single dose of oral azithromycin or placebo at their second and/or third trimester antenatal care visits and during labor, and infants receiving doses at approximately 6 and 14 weeks of age.

The study aims to measure mortality outcomes and has been designed to inform policymakers regarding the effectiveness of azithromycin for the prevention of stillbirth and infant mortality in both urban and rural parts of Mali, when administered during routine antenatal and intrapartum care and infant immunization visits.


Stars is a three-year project, funded by an anonymous donor. CVD-Mali and the International Center for Research on Women will conduct a qualitative research assessment of the Sexual and Reproductive Health facilities available to women in the Bamako, Kita and Koutiala regions of Mali.

CVD-Mali and ICRW will lead a team of multidisciplinary researchers through rigorous training in cutting-edge abortion research methodologies, develop and implement 1 or 2 key studies in Mali to ensure experiential learning and hands-on training in abortion research and support abortion-related grants, national research agendas, implement studies and publish manuscripts and policy briefs.

It is hoped that Stars will improve the evidence-base on abortion in Mali, institute policy and programmatic changes resulting from the evidence, and strengthen national capacities to generate and disseminate evidence on abortion in Mali.