East Africa Preterm Birth Initiative leaders share updates ahead of annual meet

East Africa Preterm Birth Initiative leaders share updates ahead of annual meet

DSC_0658With just hours to the 2018 Preterm Birth Initiative annual symposium, teams in the East African arm of the consortium have been engaging in reflective meetings as the project enters the final months of its initial phase.

Aimed at reducing the number of preterm births and improving outcomes of babies born too soon, PTBi has an arm in East Africa and another in California.

In a pre-event meeting in Kigali on Monday, Team leaders from Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya shared some updates to a combined gathering of the East Africa Preterm Birth Initiative which brings together institutions from the three countries and the lead institution, the University of California San Francisco.

Rwanda

“We have a lot to celebrate since we started. We have developed our group care model which we have also translated into Kinyarwanda because it is the most used language by both providers and mothers. We have done lots of trainings including 72 midwives, over 200 community health workers and 54 nurses in ultrasound. We now have 24,000 mothers enrolled into group care. It wasn’t easy but with the help of colleagues from the Ministry of Health and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre we have been able to reach these milestones,” Dr Sabine Musange, Rwanda Principal Investigator.

Uganda

“We are happy that we now have a big team that can ably do preterm birth research. We have ten Pronto [simulation training] mentors and over 200 trainees. We are working in six hospitals but by extension to even where the mentors work so we are impacting thousands of lives. We developed a neonatal register which as been picked up the Health ministry. We are also contributing to global guidelines on measuring prematurity. We have also improved data quality in the six hospitals,” Prof Peter Waiswa, Uganda Principal Investigator.

Kenya

“Although we lost nine months in the beginning due to industrial action by doctors and nurses, we have been able to catch up and have done three quarters of the work. Among the achievements we have is that we have established team work. We have also established a good infrastructure and if phase two is secured we won’t have a problem regarding this. We are having good engagement with both the county and national governments. Other landmarks include facility upgrades to improve uptake of kangaroo care and supporting the government to roll out the newborn register,” Dr Phelgona Otieno, Kenya Principal Investigator.

Wrapping it, PTBi East Africa Investigator Dr Dilys Walker said the creation of data dashboards is of great significance to the project and the data will go a long way towards improving service delivery and policy. “These dash boards are a remarkable platform with information that is going to be useful for many years to come.”

Meanwhile the annual symposium bringing together both the East Africa and California arms of the Preterm Birth Initiative starts October 3 through October 4 under the theme of “Preterm birth through the lens of quality, equity and dignity.

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