Amie Wilson reports from Africa

Who am I?

I’m Dr. Amie Wilson, International Trial co-ordinator for the AIMS Trial (Antibiotics In Miscarriage Surgery).  I am a  midwife with a true passion for improving maternal health in low resource setting.

What is the research?AIMs 1

AIMS is an international study working to improve miscarriage care in low income countries.  The study will involve 3400 women from Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Pakistan.  Miscarriage is common and affects around 20 million women every year.  The study will tell us if giving a single dose of antibiotics before surgery for miscarriage will reduce infection.

Why is it important?

AIMS is important to me as it has the potential to reduce death and disability from complications associated with infection.  Not only could reducing miscarriage complications improve outcomes for women globally, it could also lead to more resources being available for other women’s health services.  Women across the world face huge health inequalities for many reasons, but this is a simple and inexpensive intervention, and if it is found to be effective it could be rapidly implemented.


What does my role involve?

As an international trial co-ordinator I am responsible for ensuring the trial is running the way it should be.  I make sure that the site is fully ready for the research to start and all the correct systems are in place (this is not always as straightforward as it sounds … the last visit involved hanging and fixing cupboards!)  I ensure that staff on the ground are trained appropriately for involving participants in research, and also that the data being collected are of good quality.  I frequently travel between the four countries: this is not always as glamorous as it may sound.  Take the last site visit, for example, it involved 4 flights, a 6 hour bus journey, a motorcycle ride on a very bumpy dirt track, and 2 lost suitcases.  I won’t mention gastro-intestinal upsets!  However, I continue to be amazed by the healthcare practitioners and research teams at the sites, they are undoubtedly dedicated to providing the best care that they are able to.  They are driven to exploring new ideas/concepts within the limited resources that they have.  What’s more, they embrace a total stranger from overseas like an old friend, and go out of their way to treat you like a member of the family.  The role is tough, demanding and very time-consuming.  My hours are not 9 – 5 as I am working on 4 different time zones, I can be called at any time of day or night ( e.g. 4 am Christmas Eve!).  Yet the people that I work with and the ‘aim’ of this research makes it truly worthwhile.