Nairobi is one of the two counties in Kenya that are set to benefit from a Kshs 6.8 billion project aimed at reducing the newborn mortality rate. Alongside Nairobi, Nyeri county will also benefit from the project.
The project is being piloted at the Mama Lucy and Nyeri County Referral hospitals.
The two facilities will benefit from the supply of equipment to help preterm babies to breath dubbed NEST360°and train the medical personnel to use the equipment and to upscale innovation of equipment suitable for the Kenyan market.
NEST360° has developed a package that will supply a bundle of affordable and robust medical devices to hospitals to help reduce the number of babies who die in the first month of life.
The equipment is selected to address preventable illnesses that kill newborns – including breathing difficulties, jaundice, infection, and hypothermia
Nyeri county will be the first to benefit, following the official installation and launch of the medical equipment are on Wednesday 29th January 28, 2020, with Nairobi project set to be officially unveiled in February this year.
NEST360° supporters include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, The ELMA Foundation, The Lemelson Foundation, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation, and individual donors.
Education and research partnerships the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Rice University’s Rice 360° Institute for Global Health.
The Kenya country project is jointly run by the Nairobi-based Center for Public Health and Development (CPHD) and Kenya Medical Research Institute’s Wellcome Trust Research Programme. NEST360°will Optimize the Government of Kenya’s Ministry of Health’s newborns through the department of Family Health.
Speaking during the official rollout in Nyeri, CPHD’s Executive Director Dr Steve Adudans said “We have seen and lived and talked about pre-term babies dying for lack of expertise and equipment.
“This should not be so. This intervention is a game-changer as we shall not only be supplying equipment but building capacity of the clinical and biomedical workforce. Our goal is to reduce the newborn mortality rate by 12 per1000 by 2030”.
Dr Adudans added that the initiative was birthed out of intensive research across medical facilities in Kenya. He termed the project a game-changer in the health sector.
“Equipment designed for high resource settings fails when it is used in African hospitals not only because of inconsistent power but also because of heat, humidity, dust and lack of spare parts.
Moreover, most hospitals in this region simply cannot afford to purchase existing newborn technologies. To save newborn lives, we need technologies that are effective, affordable, rugged, and easy to maintain.
The NEST package addresses all these needs, reducing cost per birth by more than an order of magnitude compared to existing alternatives”
Dr Steve Adudans said “out of every 6 machines procured for use around the world for Africa, only one is easy to maintain and are designed to withstand the heat, the dust, the humidity break down, we experience all year round.
By working with specialists who understand the challenges we face, we have made a major stride in equipping our medical facilities.”
He added “About 85 per cent of newborn deaths in Africa could be prevented with relatively simple technologies that keep babies warm, help them breathe and help doctors diagnose and manage infections and other conditions. NEST 360° is designed specifically to address these conditions”.
NEST360° was founded mostly by women who, share an unshakeable belief that all of the pieces of the solution — technological, political, educational, economic and sociological — are necessary and must be implemented together to sustainably prevent newborn deaths in Africa.
BY ODINDO AYIEKO