Ethiopia government accelerates newborn health initiatives

Saving Little Lives and NEST360 partnering in Ethiopia as SLL360

Written by: Carrie Noxon

May 10, 2024

NEST360 is proud and honored to announce its strategic partnership to advance improvements in small and sick newborn care in Ethiopia by joining with Ethiopia’s government-led small and/or sick newborn care initiative, Saving Little Lives (SLL). The partnership, SLL360, brings together the expertise of SLL and NEST360 in collaboration with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) to build capacity throughout Ethiopia in the areas of care at birth and safe referral, neonatal intensive care, Kangaroo Mother Care Plus, and specialized support for small and/or sick newborns including breastmilk feeding.

SLL360 seeks to improve infrastructure for newborn care, provide data to support evidence-driven change, implement and measure the quality of care, manage healthcare technologies, develop country-wide clinical and biomedical training for newborn care, and foster effective mentorship across Ethiopia. The partnership will work alongside the government in Ethiopia to develop successful strategies for investment in health system infrastructure, including the focus on improving coverage and quality of in-patient neonatal care across four regions in Ethiopia: Amhara, Oromia, Sidama, and Tigray.

SLL360 will also assist with integrating neonatal care indicators into Ethiopia’s district health information system (DHIS2) data management platform. This data integration will provide the government with a necessary data-driven framework to evaluate the effectiveness of their interventions in neonatal intensive care units, obstetrics wards, and Kangaroo Mother Care units to understand the impact of their investments.

Ethiopia’s MOH, through SLL360, will work to achieve the following goals:

  • Support full government ownership and leadership, along with the meaningful engagement of key stakeholders, as a foundation for successful improvements in small and/or sick newborn care
  • Implement strategies that strengthen and add to existing government healthcare systems while developing an adaptive approach and resilient health system ready to respond to a changing implementation context, such as the changes seen during COVID-19, armed conflict, and high costs due to inflation
  • Improve access to medical technologies along with training and mentorship needed to use these devices effectively
  • Develop health technology management and maintenance strategies within facilities
  • Invest in closing significant gaps in the health system that affect small and/or sick newborn care
  • Reduce cost-related barriers to accessing newborn care
  • Establish reliable data quality and strengthen the culture of quality improvement required to sustain ongoing improvements in small and/or sick newborn care.

SLL360 draws from the experiences of Ethiopia’s MOH, which began accelerating newborn and maternal health initiatives in 2019 to address Ethiopia’s high neonatal mortality rates and advance a systemwide approach to improving neonatal care to reduce the neonatal mortality rate from 33 per 1000 live births (as of 2019) to 21 per 1000 live births by 2025. NEST360 brings to the partnership its experience in adapting and scaling newborn care in hospitals in sub-Saharan countries since launching in 2019.

As part of the NEST360 network, the SLL360 partnership benefits from working together toward a shared mission to reduce newborn mortality in sub-Saharan Africa with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), The ELMA Foundation, and generous individual contributions.

SLL360, co-owned and led by Ethiopia’s MOH, regional health bureaus, and other critical small and/or sick newborn care stakeholders operating in Ethiopia will lay the foundation for NEST360 implementation in Ethiopia. These collective efforts will pave the way for the practical adaptation and successful implementation of the NEST360 packages across four regions in Ethiopia and accelerate advances in quality newborn care that can improve outcomes for newborns in Ethiopia.

Mission to revolutionize newborn care in sub-Saharan Africa

Mission to revolutionize newborn care in sub-Saharan Africa

The Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies (NEST360) international alliance has launched Phase 2 of its groundbreaking mission to reduce newborn mortality in sub-Saharan Africa with $65 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), The ELMA Foundation, and generous individual contributions.