By Sharon Atieno

In a move to reduce new born mortality rate, Nyeri and Nairobi Counties are set to benefit from US$ 68 million funding project for comprehensive newborn care.

Mama Lucy and Nyeri County referral hospitals will be supplied by equipment to help pre-term babies to breathe dubbed NEST360°. In addition, medical personnel to use the equipment and to upscale innovation of equipment will also be trained.

NEST360° has developed a package that will supply 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.

The medical equipment in Nyeri was officially installed and launched today while the Nairobi project is set to be launched in February.

Speaking during the official rollout in Nyeri, the Executive Director of Centre for Public Health and Development (CPHD), Dr. Steve Adudans said that the intervention was a game-changer as they shall not only be supplying equipment but building capacity of the clinical and biomedical workforce.

Noting that their goal was to reduce new born mortality rate to 12 per 1,000 by 2030, Dr. Adudans added: “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,” he said.

According to Dr. Adudans, about 85 percent 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, he added.

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.