Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies (NEST 360) program is improving the quality of care given to small and sick newborns in the country through a project which is being implemented to catalyse count-led change to develop and sustain comprehensive small and sick new born care.
Speaking to Malawi24 during the opening of a two-day Small and Sick Newborns Care (SSNC) stakeholders meeting in Lilongwe, NEST 360 program Country Director Evelyn Zimba said they are working with Ministry of Health to support them in implementation of small and sick newborn care to help reduce the mortality of newborns in Malawi.
“We want the mortality of newborns reduced by half by 2030, that’s what we are aiming at. So, the program has been supporting the Ministry of Health in a number of ways. The first one is providing equipment that is effective but at the same time that is not very expensive affordable and that can sustain itself.
“We provided that equipment and installed it in 38 facilities – all district hospitals, all central hospitals and selected 9 CHAM facilities. We had to install equipment but after installation we also had to do user training, we want everybody who is going to use that equipment to have the knowledge on how to use that equipment,” said Zimba.
According to Zimba, Malawi has one of the highest rates in terms of preterm births and they need to manage these preterm babies.
“One of the key problems that they manifest is respiratory distress syndrome. Their lungs are not mature enough to continue working so we need a machine which will help them continuously until when they are fit enough to breath on their own. We have bought those equipment and facilities and handed them based on patients they have. Central hospitals were given 10 while some hospitals were given 2 equipment,” said Zimba.
Acting Chief of Emergency and Critical Care Services at the Ministry of Health, Norman Lufesi, commended the partnership that exists between NEST (360) Program and the ministry, saying the partnership has contributed significantly towards improving the quality of care given to the newborns in hospitals.
“We need health care workers, we need equipment, we need our babies in the wards to be warm throughout their hospital stay to make sure that they are responding well to treatment. So, if a newborn is cold, it increases the chances of them dying and under this NEST 360 program we have saved a lot of newborns lives,” said Lufasi.