> Neocosur

Historical Background

The NEOCOSUR network is a voluntary and non-profit grouping of Neonatology Units from some countries of the South American cone (Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay), with the mission of contributing to the continuous improvement of neonatal health indicators of our countries. This network was founded in 1997 by Dr Jose L Tapia as a collaborative neonatal network group. It currently includes 36 public and private tertiary centers, all University-affiliated. Ultimately, the NEOCOSUR Network includes centers from different countries with a diverse organization of their health systems. Despite inter-center differences, portraits the characteristics and results of NICU care in a middle-income region such as South America.

In 2000, after a first meeting of Collaborators, the Neocosur Neonatal Network formally elected its first Board of Directors, with a Steering Committee: José L Tapia (President) Javier Cifuentes, Aldo Bancalari, José M. Ceriani, Isabel Kurlat (Directors); and a Scientific Committee: Alvaro González (President) Gonzalo Mariani, Patricia Mena, Luis Prudent, Nestor Vain (Directors).
Since 2001 the member centers can enter their data online and establish a permanent interactive relationship with each other. The member centers are integrated through a central Database Unit (DBU), which is supported by neonatologists and nurses and statisticians. A special coded file is used, using standardized definitions of pathologies (operating manual). This file is sent online to the DBU. The DBU informatic support is provided by the Universidad Católica de Chile.

Organization and current Members: See Organization/Members.

The main strategies to achieve the mission of the network include:

  • Continuous evaluation of mortality and morbidity of very low birth weight infants (VLBWI) population in the region.
  •  Development of predictive adjustment tools that allow benchmarking between centers: SeePredictors.
  •  Clinical observational studies with data provided from the DBU, and non-interventional prospective studies.
  •   Designing and conducting clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of specific therapeutic interventions.
  •   Publish outcomes and trends that may be useful for outcome comparison in other centers or regions.
  •   Outlining and disseminating information of proven beneficial therapies in the perinatal area and evaluating their impact in health care. 
  •   Collaborate with continuous education of all NICU personnel.
  •  Promote parental care of VLBWI.
  •  Promote follow up of VLBWI after discharge.
  • The first formal Quality Improvement project on the Network is under development.

Numerous research projects, including controlled studies, have been developed in these years, the result of which is a series of publications in indexed journals. See Publications.
Several posters and oral presentations have participated in different scientific conferences including the National Congresses of Argentina and Chile, as well as International Congresses such as PAS meetings (Pediatric Academic Society), SLAIP (Latin American Society for Pediatric Research) and ESPR SPR (European Society for Pediatric Research).
Collaborative studies are also carried out with other international networks, specifically with the Spanish SENeo.

Online journal, only Spanish. See Journal.
Neocosur´s Neonatal Symposiums. Updates on Neonatal care. 7 have been held since 2012 in different cities from the region.

We have received some funding from the industry plus the support of the Pontifical Catholic University from Chile, particularly in the informatic area. One of the controlled studies won a FONIS contest in Chile.
An especially important barrier in the development and continuity of the Network is obtaining funding.

The projection for the next few years is to further consolidate this Network. A new, more versatile electronic file is in operation and a monitoring follow up file has also been created. Since 2014, follow-up data has been registered in some centers of the Network. All of this will provide relevant data for the region and will increase the possibility of carrying out multicenter controlled trials and quality improvement initiatives. We seek to build coaching capacity within the Network and that may serve the region. We also seek international collaboration with other Networks. We hope to increase our presence in international Conferences and Forums and holding symposiums in the region. It is also an important point of reference for the local authorities of the countries represented in the Network in terms of public health policies. NEOCOSUR also aims to promote more effective support for families of premature babies.

Report updated January 2021.