The Global network COVID-19 studies: A review

Document Type

Review Article


Community Health Sciences


With the paucity of data available regarding COVID-19 in pregnancy in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), near the start of the pandemic, the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), initiated four separate studies to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in eight LMIC sites. These sites included: four in Asia, in Bangladesh, India (two sites) and Pakistan; three in Africa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya and Zambia; and one in Central America, in Guatemala. The first study evaluated changes in health service utilisation; the second study evaluated knowledge, attitudes and practices of pregnant women in relationship to COVID-19 in pregnancy; the third study evaluated knowledge, attitude and practices related to COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy; and the fourth study, using antibody status at delivery, evaluated changes in antibody status over time in each of the sites and the relationship of antibody positivity with various pregnancy outcomes. Across the Global Network, in the first year of the study there was little reduction in health care utilisation and no apparent change in pregnancy outcomes. Knowledge related to COVID-19 was highly variable across the sites but was generally poor. Vaccination rates among pregnant women in the Global Network were very low, and were considerably lower than the vaccination rates reported for the countries as a whole. Knowledge regarding vaccines was generally poor and varied widely. Most women did not believe the vaccines were safe or effective, but slightly more than half would accept the vaccine if offered. Based on antibody positivity, the rates of COVID-19 infection increased substantially in each of the sites over the course of the pandemic. Most pregnancy outcomes were not worse in women who were infected with COVID-19 during their pregnancies. We interpret the absence of an increase in adverse outcomes in women infected with COVID-19 to the fact that in the populations studied, most COVID-19 infections were either asymptomatic or were relatively mild


Volume, issue are not provided by the author/publisher

Publication (Name of Journal)

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology