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NEST (360) Program meeting resolves to address gaps in small and sick newborns sector

Stakeholders to the two-day meeting organized by Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies – NEST (360) Program – have resolved to enhance their working relationship in addressing challenges hindering delivery of quality care to small and sick newborns in Malawi.

The stakeholders made the resolution at the close of the meeting on Tuesday. NEST (360) Program, which is a program under the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS), organized the stakeholders’ meeting to disseminate achievements of the first phase of the implementation.

The program is working in partnerships with hospitals, governments, and other development partners to catalyze country-led change to develop and sustain innovation, develop an education ecosystem, and implement evidence-based care.

A cross-section of the participants to the stakeholders’ meeting organized by NEST (360) Program – Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

Hence, another objective of the stakeholders’ meeting was to explore potential collaboration opportunities with stakeholders and partners for the enhancement of small and sick newborns in Malawi.

Speaking in an interview on Tuesday afternoon, NEST (360) Program Country Director Evelyn Zimba said she was satisfied with the contributions stakeholders made at the meeting.

“We have had very rich discussions yesterday and today, and the key resolutions that we have made are that: we need to have strong leadership in terms of maternal and newborn care. We discussed with the associations to assist in strengthening professional leadership. We have leaders in wards, but what is their role? Issues like induction for new staff are not done; induction is crucial to bring to speed new staff joining the ward to familiarize them on the roles and expectations from the new staff,” said Zimba.

She also disclosed that stakeholders to the meeting have resolved to improve and enhance issues of accountability among health workers, lamenting that, in some instances, health workers do not discharge their duties as per the expectations of both the employer and the clients. There are instances when some staff choose not to report for duties without proper and convincing reasons.

NEST (360) Program Country Director Evelyn Zimba reacting to one of the presentations during the stakeholders’ meeting in Lilongwe–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

In his remarks, the Acting Chief of Emergency and Critical Care Services at the Ministry of Health, Norman Lufesi, said the ministry expects that the resolutions will contribute towards reducing deaths among newborns.

“We have agreed to work together to reduce neonatal deaths by addressing major challenges, which include high mortality rates, inadequate staff, rotating staff, equipment, and space where we can put newborns. As a government, we are committed to improving the quality of care for newborns, as evidenced by the investment we are making in the industry. We started with very few facilities, and we would like to continue with other facilities,” said Lufesi.

The stakeholders’ meeting was held under the theme: “Leveraging partners and stakeholder collaboration in improving Small and Sick Newborn Care in Malawi to align with ENAP goals”.

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