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FORUM: NEST360 team showcases work at MUHAS scientific conference

June 23, 2023 10:00
FORUM: NEST360 team showcases work at MUHAS scientific conference
Dr. Nahya Salim, NEST 360 Country & Clinical Lead engages with the audience during a panel discussion at the MUHAS scientific conference in Dar. PHOTO?IFAKARA/KMC

The NEST360 team at Ifakara Health Institute participated in the 11th Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) scientific conference held at the Muhimbili campus in Upanga, Dar es Salaam from June 22-23, 2023.

The two-day conference brought together experts, implementors, government representatives and students. Together, they engaged in discussions aligned with the conference theme, “The Role of scientific evidence and Innovation in enhancing resilient health systems in addressing global public health challenges”.

NEST team presents at a satellite session
On June 23, the NEST360 team participated in a satellite session with partner institutions including government representatives from the Ministry of Health (MoH) for a panel dialogue on the maternal and newborn situation in Tanzania.

Participants in the satellite session titled: Partnership for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal and Newborn Mortality, also had the opportunity to hear presentations from partner organizations. Overall, the presentations demonstrated why partnerships are necessary to accelerate the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths and maximize impact to achieve SDGs by 2030.

Dr. Nahya Salim, NEST 360 Country & Clinical Lead gave a presentation on A Health System Approach to Improve Small and Sick Newborn Care in Tanzania in which she outlined how the NEST360 Program uses an evidence-based model to reduce newborn death in hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Nahya was joined at the session by NEST Country Director in Tanzania, Catherine Paul, NEST program coordinator, Donat Shamba and NEST Qualitative Lead Jitihada Baraka. The NEST team also had an exhibition booth at the conference where they showcased medical equipment used for neonatal care.

Other presentations were from SBBC which addressed quality improvement during and immediately after delivery in the maternal ward; m-mama connecting women to facilities via a coordinated referral system; WatotoCare an approach targeting the delivery of post-discharge follow-up through triaging; and Jhpiego Afya Yangu focusing on strengthening human resource workforce through competence-based mentorship. 

The state of maternal and newborn mortality in Africa
According to a statement issued before the satellite session, Sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to 13% of the world's population, accounts for more than half of the 0.3 million maternal deaths, 2.3 million infant deaths, and 2 million stillbirths worldwide. 

In Tanzania, 83% of births occur in hospitals, but each year, 11,000 Tanzanian mothers die giving birth, 40,500 stillbirths occur, and 44,000 newborn deaths occur. To tackle this challenge, the government requires innovation and evidence-based implementation during and immediately after birth in newborn wards, and communities across the country.

The Ministry take on Maternal and Newborn mortality
The satellite session was officiated by Dr. Felix Bundala, Assistant Director, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Dr. Phineas Sospeter, Head of Program, Safe Motherhood Program both from the Ministry of Health, who gave keynote speeches on the maternal and newborn situation in Tanzania.

Dr. Bundala underlined the demand for Tanzania to have short courses in newborn care and urged for "preventive and curative interventions for newborns" in his remarks.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sospeter reaffirmed the Ministry's commitment to Universal Health Coverage. He also praised the country's tremendous progress in reducing maternal mortality highlighting the value of pre-service training in improving maternal health. “Existing high-level support presents a chance to put an end to maternal mortality,” he declared.

About NEST360 Program
Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies (NEST360) is a global consortium committed to reducing newborn deaths by 50% in hospitals, currently conducted in Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, and Nigeria. The program is an evidence-based model for sustainable health system change to close the gaps in technology, markets, and human resources for the implementation of quality hospital-based newborn care a national scale.

In Tanzania, the NEST360 program is implemented by Ifakara Health Institute and partners and works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Phase I of the program started in late 2019 and is currently being implemented in 7 hospitals within 3 regions in Tanzania namely: (i) Dar es Salaam (Muhimbili National Hospital, Muhimbili Mloganzila, and Amana, Mwananyamala and Temeke Regional Referral Hospitals), (ii) Kilimanjaro (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC)) and (iii) Mbeya (Mbeya Zonal and Referral Hospital).

>> More photos from the event: https://ifakarahealthinstitute.smugmug.com/NEST360-at-2023-MUHAS-scientific-conference/