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Dr Matthew Ellis

Dr Matthew Ellis

Dr Matthew Ellis
MA(Cantab.), MBChB(Liv.), PhD(Lond.), D.C.H., M.R.C.P., M.R.C.P.C.H.

Consultant Senior Lecturer in Global Child Health

Area of research

global child health

Office 1.08
1-5 Whiteladies Road,
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 33 14088
+44 (0) 117 42 83109


The epidemiology of neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood

Community based interventions to reduce child mortality and improve neurodevelopmental outcomes

Injury prevention

Global Community Child Health


I initially studied social anthropology at Cambridge University during which I contributed to a land rights project with the Ashaninka Amerindians of Peru. I went on to train in medicine in Liverpool qualifying as a doctor in1986 with specialty training in clinical paediatrics at Alder Hey Hospital (1989).

I ran an innovative healthworker training project in Ethiopia with ‘Health Unlimited’ before joining the Centre for International Child Health at University College London, to lead a research programme in Nepal. This led to a PhD and a series of publications describing the public health importance of birth asphyxia in low income settings

On my return from Asia I combined a clinical career in the NHS as a consultant community paediatrician based in Bristol with an interest in neurodisability with a part time senior clinical lectureship at the Centre for Child and Adolescent Healt,h contributing to a variety of clinical teaching and training programmes plus research supervision focussing on neurodevelopmental epidemiology.  

Throughout my time in Bristol I have maintained and broadened my global health activity with both research (ongoing collaborations with research groups in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) and teaching interests (founder and current course director of the Bristol Intercalated Global Health Degree). I have advised WHO on the move from birth asphyxia to neonatal encephalopathy as a more informative epidemiological case definition with which to capture the burden of intrapartum related disease. I have provided technical advice to the Ministry of Health in Nepal to facilitate the inclusion of newborn care into their Iintegrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMNCI) programme. I have led a Global Child Health Link programme partnering Bristol with Mbarara University, Uganda. 

More recently in line with the changing burden of disease in South Asia I am now working with the Nepal Injury Research Centre on a National Institute of Health Research Grant to build in country research capacity. I am gratified that the collaborative team working on this includes Maternal and Infant Research Activities (MIRA) a research focussed NGO I was a founder member of 25 years ago. I continue to lead the global health intercalated and helical global health input for Bristol Medical School.

Activities / Findings

Infants born in rural Bangladesh who remain in poor condition at five minutes of age are at 20% risk of death by one month of age (the 'neonatal' period) and account for 35% of all neonatal deaths in this setting.

Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA's) can aquire resuscitation competencies using bag-valve-mask devices.

A community based programme to teach traditional birth attendants to use bag-valve-mask resuscitation for such infants was ineffective in terms of reducing neonatal mortality compared to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation training for traditional birth attendants in neighbouring control areas.

There were relatively few device based resuscitations performed in the intervention area and the control area TBAs had their mouth-to mouth resuscitation competency enhanced during the programme, Thus the net effect of this programme intervention was to dilute potential benefits of selective training of TBAs in device based resuscitation. But it reminds programmers of the challenges of achieving high level coverage with a device based intervention at the community level for an unplanned event.


Course director Global health BSc, Bristol

Helical Theme lead MB21 Global Health



  • newborn
  • child
  • neurodevelopment
  • global health
  • community


  • birth asphyxia neonatal encephalopathy child disability


  • cohort studies cluster randomised controlled trials


I am currently carrying out a randomised controlled trial of community based resuscitation for newborns who do not breathe at birth in association with the Perinatal Care Programme, Bangladesh. (Funded by Saving Newborn Lives/ the Gates Foundation). My research interests focus on the longer term outcomes of children following perinatal adversity. I maintain research links with groups in South Asia working in maternal and child health and I continue to develop my interests in global health and development. I am the convenor of the International Child Health Specialist Group of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

  • resuscitation
  • newborns
  • perinatal adversity
  • maternal health
  • child health
  • Memberships


    Bristol Medical School (PHS)

    Other sites

    Centres, collaborations and units

    Selected publications

    Read more >

    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

    Networks & contacts

    • Prof Anthony Costello London
    • Prof Dharma Manandhar Kathmandu
    • Prof Kishwar Azad Bangladesh
    • Dr Julius Kiwanuka Uganda


    Dr Ellis currently teaches 3 courses:

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