Child and maternal mortality rates have halved over the past 25 years, reflecting major successes of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era. But two key areas of child mortality saw much less progress than most others: newborn mortality and stillbirths. In 2015, there were still about 2.7 million annual neonatal deaths, accounting for no less than 45% of all under-5 mortality. Added to this, over 2.6 million third trimester stillbirths occur globally each year. This means that 15,000 babies die every day, ten every minute.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 80% of these deaths result from three preventable and treatable conditions – complications due to prematurity, intrapartum-related deaths including birth asphyxia and neonatal infections. But while cost-effective evidence-based interventions exist, their coverage especially in low- and middle-income countries continues to be very low. As a result, the authors of the Lancet’s Every Newborn Series have called interventions in newborn health “surely one of the best investments in health and also human rights”. Recognizing this unfinished child health agenda, the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include the target to end preventable deaths of newborns under its overarching health goal, SDG3.
Since 2009, our work in the Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (MNCH) sector has focused primarily on newborns. Experts agree that the key to success is twofold: to ensure (1) that as many births as possible occur in health facilities, and (2) that the health providers conducting these births have adequate skills, equipment and motivation. It is this latter point that we are trying to address – via a purposive investment to develop workforce capacity of those rendering newborn care in low- and middle-income country health facilities. This is also fully in line with the recommendations made by the Every Newborn Action Plan, a framework for action that was prepared by WHO and UNICEF with guidance by numerous experts and partners – including our main partner in this sector, the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN) –, and endorsed by the 2014 World Health Assembly.
We hence strive to promote newborn care and reduce the burden of neonatal deaths and stillbirths around the globe. To achieve this, we carry out research and provide evidence-based training and advocacy in countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Vietnam.
Our staff, fellows and affiliated partners engage in research initiatives on relevant MNCH priorities, especially relating to newborns. A primary research focus is the development of workforce capacity of those rendering newborn care in low- and middle-income country health facilities.
Other areas of interest include the following:
- Thermoregulation including KMC, safe use of overhead warmers, incubators and warming beds
- Glucose monitoring and management
- Airway management including CPAP and CPAP management
- Maintenance of CPAP equipment to control for nosocomial infection
- Feeding regimens, standards and protocols
- Caring for the small baby < 1.5 kg
- Skin care
- Developmental care
- Discharge from the neonatal unit
- Nurse education and training
- Involving parents and infants in research
- Advancing the role of neonatal nurses
- Families as partners in care
- Traditional practices and their place in current newborn care
- The small for gestational infant
- The needs of the sick, term newborn
- Innovation in nursing practice, education or administration in neonatal care
- Maternal challenges and effects on the newborn
- Nurses as leaders
- Preconception care
- Supporting health workers
Opportunities for international faculty and students:
- Collaborative research initiatives
- Research fellowships (unpaid)
- Project-specific research practica
Education & Training
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Our Education & Training programs are generally available to qualified individuals from around the world. Local host country participants typically enjoy strongly reduced fees.
|Helping Babies Breathe (HBB)|
Trainer and Master Trainer Retreats
|Nursing & Neonatal Care|
Community Field Course (for students)
|COINN Africa Conference||Kenya||11/10/19-11/17/19|
We raise awareness of and advocate for relevant MNCH priorities, with a primary focus on newborn care. Activities include leadership development and support for local professional specialty associations, as well as the dissemination of evidence-based data to inspire policy making.
Opportunities for international students:
- Non-clinical internships
- Faculty-led programs for groups of students who wish to engage in high-impact service-learning or community-engaged learning activities