Malawi has the highest preterm delivery rate in the world. This, paired with inadequate newborn care at health facilities, results in high rates of infant mortality. Managing the healthcare needs of preterm infants remains a challenge. They face complications during and after birth, and they have an increased risk of death, chronic medical problems, and malnutrition later in life. Many life-saving interventions have been successful in Malawi but they have not been scaled up into routine clinical practice.
This project will determine whether a package of neonatal interventions, known as the Malawi Neonatal Package of Care, can be implemented at the health facility level to reduce neonatal mortality. Interventions include low-cost continuous airway support for breathing, breastfeeding support, Kangaroo Mother Care (skin-to-skin, mother-to-baby contact), hot cots to prevent hypothermia, management of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and phototherapy lights to treat jaundice. Researchers will investigate the best ways to implement these interventions in routine clinical practice.
The project will directly train nurses, doctors, and other health care providers. It will also produce peer-reviewed journal articles, and provide presentations at hospitals and nursing organizations, interviews with media, and policy-relevant information to decision-makers.
This is part of the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) initiative,a seven year, $CA36 million multi-donor partnership funded by Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and Canada's International Development Research Centre.