Have you heard about the birth surveillance network in Latin America called ECLAMC?  ECLAMC stands for Estudio Colaborative Latino Americano de Malformaciones Congénitas—Latin American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations. 

Their network of hospitals voluntarily register infants with malformations.  Their approach is to operate a program with the quality and complexity of clinical research , feasible in a single hospital, but with a sample size multiplied by many hospitals willing to accept—voluntarily and collaboratively—criteria and definitions within a single operational framework, and to share their data with other fellow programs.

Because more than half of all defects have unknown causes, the main objective of this network is the prevention of birth defects by research.  ECLAMC investigates risk factors associated with congenital anomalies and uses case control methods.  ECLAMC acts as a surveillance system, systematically observing the fluctuations in the frequencies of the different malformations.  When a signal for an epidemic emerges, for a particular type of malformation and for a given time and area, ECLAMC mobilizes to identify the cause of the possible epidemic.

ECLAMC began originally in Argentina in 1967 as a voluntary association of health professionals investigating birth defects in Buenos Aires.  Today the collaboration extends to 35 hospitals in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Columbia.

To find out more, visit the ECLAMC website where you will also find a link to their search engine for congenital anomalies (an atlas for malformations) which aims to help health professional in describing, coding, and studying congenital anomalies.

ECLAMC is one of several surveillance networks in our resources inventory.  Take time to explore the inventory.  And then contact us with your feedback and suggestions.