IMPROVING NEONATAL HEALTH OUTCOMES IN ETHIOPIA THROUGH AN INNOVATIVE AND SUSTAINABLE HEALTHCARE MODEL
Introduction : Neonatal mortality continues to be a critical challenge in developing countries like Ethiopia. It is established that well-equipped healthcare facilities and skilled healthcare workers are vital for reducing neonatal mortality and improving health outcomes. Approach : A hypothesis was proposed to improve neonatal health outcomes through an innovative model. It in-volved collaboration between, local and non-profit organizations, technology partners, skill development partners, and sustenance Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) partners which were managed by GE Healthcare, under the active guidance of the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH). The model included setting up advanced technology within the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), training the healthcare staff about the technology, and good clinical practices in new-born care (NICU solution). This hy-pothesis was evaluated using a pilot outcomes study, which covered four district level hospitals in Ethiopia for
duration of six months.
Results: The pilot analysis demonstrated that the intervention resulted in significant improvement of clinical and skill outcomes. For example, neonatal mortality declined by 24% and overall neonatal health outcomes, at dis-charge, improved by 3.3%. There was an increase in throughput with the units handling more than double the number of new-borns, and, the number of new-borns referred to other hospitals decreased by half. The skills and competencies of the NICU staff improved following the initial training and periodic refreshment trainings during the pilot.
Conclusion: This partnership model had a positive impact on neonatal health outcomes. Such strategic partner-ships focusing on improving neonatal health outcomes can be replicated and sustainably scaled up.
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