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The Guinea-Bissau Twin Registry Update: A Platform for Studying Twin Mortality and Metabolic Disease

  • Morten Bjerregaard-Andersen (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Gabriel Marciano Gomes (a1), Ditte Egegaard Hennild (a1) (a3) (a5), Dorte Møller Jensen (a6) (a7), Kaare Christensen (a8), Morten Sodemann (a1) (a5), Henning Beck-Nielsen (a3) (a6) and Peter Aaby (a1) (a2)...


Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest natural twinning rate in the world. Unfortunately, due to lack of adequate care during pregnancy, labor and postnatally, twin mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa also remains very high. Thus, it has been estimated that one in five twins dies during the childhood years. In spite of this, surprisingly few twin studies have been conducted in the region, making additional epidemiological data much needed. In 2009, we established one of the first twin registries in Sub-Saharan Africa at the Bandim Health Project in Guinea-Bissau. The registry had two main objectives. First, we wanted to describe the twinning rate and mortality patterns among newborn twins, including mortality risk factors and hospitalization patterns. Such studies can help the local clinicians improve twin health by identifying the most vulnerable children. Second, and in light of the rapidly increasing diabetes rates in Africa, we wanted to use the registry to particularly focus on metabolic disorders. Twins are often born with low birth weight, which according to the ‘thrifty phenotype hypothesis’ could predispose them to metabolic disorders later in life. Yet, no such ‘fetal programming’ data have previously been available from African twins despite the fact that nutritional patterns and influences from other factors (e.g., infections) could be markedly different here compared to high-income settings. In this article, we summarize the findings and current status of the Guinea-Bissau twin registry.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Morten Bjerregaard-Andersen, Email:


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