Since 1967, the ECLAMC program works as clinical and epidemiological investigation of developmental congenital anomalies in Latin American hospital births, being recognized by the World Health Organization as the Collaborating Centre for the Prevention of Congenital Malformations.
ECLAMC is a research program of risk factors in causing malformations, under case-control methodology. Since more than half of the defects have unknown causes, the main objective and strategy is the PREVENTION BY RESEARCH.
The ECLAMC also acts as surveillance system, systematically observing the fluctuations in the frequencies of the different malformations, and when an alarm for an epidemic is aced, for a given type of malformation, and at a given time and area, it is mobilized to identify the cause of the possible epidemic.
The ECLAMC is a voluntary agreement among professionals dedicated to the study of congenital malformations in Latin American hospitals. They are integrated by a collaborative attitude, agreeing to a body of rules that ensure the operational uniformity needed for the comparability of the data recorded in different hospitals.
In being an agreement between people, ECLAMC lacks institutional base and own budget, which in turn assures the intellectual autonomy and long-term continuity of the program. This voluntary and collaborative nature guarantees the quality of information required for a program of wide coverage and high level of complexity, two hardly compatible features, which ECLAMC combine without compromising one for the other. The basic idea 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. The economic needs of the program are covered by research grants, requested for specific programs, and using the installed capacity (salaries , printing , mail, computer , etc.) available in the participant institutions.