The majority of newborn babies require minimal intervention at birth to establish normal breathing and transition to life outside the womb. However, on a global scale, many babies still die during labour or shortly after birth. Many of these deaths are easily preventable if trained health care workers attend the birth. The University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka is the largest hospital and main referral health institution in Zambia. It has a busy delivery suite with a rate of around 60 births per day and approximately 20,000-25,000 deliveries per year. Faith Kayembe, originally from Zambia, is a Senior Lecturer in midwifery at Canterbury Christchurch University in Kent. Faith got in touch with us to see whether her skills and knowledge could be applied through the Link to help improve care for newborns in Zambia. Working with her colleagues in Lusaka, Faith identified a number of challenges, including low levels of clinical specialisation and a lack of continuing professional knowledge and skill development opportunities for Zambian midwives. She developed a bespoke programme that aimed to build capacity by training key staff to deliver rolling training in newborn resuscitation. Faith went to Lusaka to set up the programme. Over 40 staff who attend deliveries received training and a core group of facilitators were also trained to deliver the training to ensure a sustainable programme.
In another newborn project, Dr Heike Rabe, a consultant neonatologist working in Brighton, is developing a new collaboration with the Medical School in Lusaka and other international partners Called MODERN (Mother Driven Best Practice Implementation), this project will develop and test new, mother and baby-focused, digital intervention strategies to increase access to, and implementation of, evidence-based quality care during and after pregnancy. The project will support the broader implementation of World Health Organisation care pathway recommendations for care before, during and after birth reducing mothers’ and babies’ deaths. Watch this space for further updates as this project develops. Find out more about Dr Rabe’s research here: https://www.sussex.ac.uk/research/explore-our-research/health-and-medicine/delayed-cord-clamping