Analysing healthcare systems and preventive care delivery at local, national and international levels.

Most countries have a healthy child programme, a public health preventive programme which ensures protection against communicable disease, prevention of injuries and environmental harm and the promotion of health initiatives particularly nutritional and emotional health. This theme allows us to explore ways in which we can improve health care systems and programmes, particularly preventive care delivery, to better support the populations they serve.

Our work

We are currently investigating ways to improve immunisation uptake, antenatal and postnatal nutrition and early detection of physical and developmental problems. Place based research of integrated child health care systems in different countries offers the opportunity to develop novel forms of parent and child support to enhance health and wellbeing.

This theme focusses projects around three main areas:

1. Strengthening Primary child health care systems internationally and locally

  • Primary care has a strong influence on overall healthcare, however there is little research as to how these services address the needs of children. With large differences in childhood mortality and morbidity across Europe, the Models of Child Health Appraised (MOCHA) project analysed primary child health care across 30 European countries. Publication
  • Working with the local NHS in North West London and the Connecting Care for Children team based at St Mary’s Hospital, we have a project designed to improve the coordination and commissioning of children’s care at a system level. We are evaluating these novel systems using mixed methods approaches with both professionals and users of such services.

2. Understanding epidemiology and prevention of emergency attendances of children for primary care sensitive issues

  • A series of projects exploring reasons for frequent child ED attendances in England and locally in North West London. A high proportion (40-60%) of infant attendances are for low acuity medical issues which require no investigation or medical input. This theme is exploring with parents and local communities how parental education and improved access to information /health literacy tools might improve support to parents to contain such events safely at home.

3. Improving antenatal micro nutrition

  • Approximately a third of all women in North West London are vitamin D deficient at the time of pregnancy which can have severe consequences for neonatal health (hypocalcemic seizures and rickets) and later adult bone health. This theme explores digital support for parents as well as the use of point of care testing in antenatal clinics to improve identification and correction of blood levels prior to delivery.


Theme lead

  • Professor Mitch Blair

    Personal details

    Professor Mitch Blair Professor of Paediatrics and Child Public Health


    Mitch Blair trained in paediatrics and public health and is a general paediatrician with specialist expertise in child population health. Previously Senior Lecturer in Community Paediatrics at Nottingham University, he joined Imperial College in 1998 and the School of Public Health in 2019, collaborating closely with the and co leads the  North West London ARC child health theme with Professor Sonia Saxena. He has a background in medical education, epidemiology and health services research. His primary research interests are in preventive child health programmes, international child health indicators and child health services research.

Theme members

Our partners