Surviving birth : Studies of a simplified neonatal resuscitation protocol in a low-income context using a mixed-methods approach
Abstract: United Nations has lately stated ambitious health targets for 2030 in the Sustainable Development Goal agenda, following the already achieved progress between 1990 and 2015 when the number of children dying before the age of five was reduced by more than half. However, the mortality reduction in the first month of life after birth has not kept the same pace. Furthermore, a large number of stillbirths have previously not been accounted for. The aim of this thesis was to evaluate the impact of clinical training in neonatal resuscitation, and to identify strategies for an effective implementation at a maternal health facility in Nepal.Focus group discussions were used to explore the perceptions of teamwork among staff working closest to the infant at the facility. A prospective cohort study with nested referents was applied to determine effect on birth outcomes after an intervention with Helping Babies Breathe, a simplified protocol for neonatal resuscitation. Sustainability of the acquired skills after training was addressed by employing a quality improvement cycle. Video recordings of health workers performance were collected to analyse adherence to protocol.Midwives described the need for universal protocols in neonatal resuscitation and management involvement in clinical audit and feedback. There was a reduction of intrapartum stillbirth (aOR 0.46, 95% CI 0.32–0.66) and neonatal mortality within 24 hours of life (aOR 0.51, 95% CI 0.31–0.83) after the intervention. Ventilation of infants increased (OR 2.56, 95% CI 1.67–3.93) and potentially harmful suctioning was reduced (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.09–0.17). Neonatal death from intrapartum-related complications was reduced and preterm infants survived additional days in the neonatal period after the intervention. Low birth weight was not found to be a predictor of deferred resuscitation in the studied context.This study confirmed the robustness of Helping Babies Breathe as an educational tool for training in neonatal resuscitation. Accompanied with a quality improvement cycle it reduced intrapartum stillbirth and mortality on the day of delivery in a low-income facility setting. Improved postnatal care is needed to maintain the gains in survival through the neonatal period. Increased management involvement in audit and quality of care could improve clinical performance among health workers.
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