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TRAINING: Healthcare practitioners sharpen quality improvement skills

March 18, 2024 9:00
TRAINING: Healthcare practitioners sharpen quality improvement skills
Participants of the training during one of the sessions. Credit: IFAKARA Communications

In an effort to enhance healthcare quality, the Newborn Essential Solutions and Technologies (NEST360) program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is conducting a 5-day (March 18-22, 2024) training for healthcare practitioners, including doctors, nurses, and biomedical engineers at the Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Quality Improvement (QI) is a structured approach to analyzing performance and making necessary adjustments while prioritizing the needs of the people. The training aims to prepare QI teams from regional, district, and national hospitals in NEST360 facilities. They will learn to implement newborn quality improvement methods, train others, and oversee newborn QI efforts in their hospitals.

Integrating QI in health facilities

Participants include 4 representatives from each of NEST360’s 7 phase one health facilities in Tanzania. The objective is to integrate newborn quality improvement activities into routine healthcare practices to ensure long-term sustainability and achieve better results for neonates.

The week began with opening remarks by Dr. Honorati Masanja, the Chief Executive Director of Ifakara. The training includes interactive sessions such as presentations, hands-on assignments, games, and case scenarios.

A combination of facilitators

Leading the discussions are Dr. Robert Tillya, a medical doctor and research scientist with the NEST360 program at Ifakara, and Nebiyou Wendwessen Hailemariam, Quality Improvement Advisor at NEST360.

QI facilitators will be selected from this group to train teams at their respective hospitals and at the council level. This facility-based training will cover all departments providing care to newborns, including operating theaters, labor wards, and postnatal wards.

Hospital teams will be equipped to conduct continuous follow-up (daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly) on the coverage and quality of various clinical interventions to enhance care.

These QI activities will address specific gaps, utilizing different tracking tools to capture process data and measure results and insights. Health workers will continually assess their performance using data and plan for ongoing improvement within their units.

NEST360 extended for 5 years

Earlier this year, NEST360 announced the commencement of its second phase, backed by a substantial $65 million investment that will propel the initiative forward over the next five years. For more details, refer to the official announcement here.

About NEST 360

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 on a national scale.

In Tanzania, the NEST program works in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, to improve the quality of comprehensive newborn care units as stipulated in the National guideline for neonatal care and the establishment of neonatal care units.

Phase I of the program started in late 2019 in three tertiary hospitals i.e., Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH Upanga), Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH Mloganzila) and Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital. Implementation at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) started in February 2022. The three regional referral hospitals in Dar es Salaam i.e., Mwananyamala, Amana and Temeke started implementation in 2020. The tertiary hospitals will be the ‘learning hubs’ to ensure mentorship and supportive supervision within the selected regions.