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CALL: Replicate NEST360 program in district hospitals to improve neonatal services

Sept. 28, 2022
CALL: Replicate NEST360 program in district hospitals to improve neonatal services
The Deputy Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. Seif Shekalaghe speaks during his brief tour of Temeke hospital. This was after visiting the NEST360 program at the hospital on Saturday, September 24, 2022. PHOTO | IFAKARA/KMC

The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health (MOH), Dr. Seif Shekalaghe, has applauded the NEST360 program for its efforts in reducing newborn deaths in Tanzania and urged implementing partners to replicate it in district hospitals where neonatal services are still lacking.

The program is implemented in Tanzania by Ifakara Health Institute and partners at selected referral hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Mbeya and Kilimanjaro regions.

The deputy PS sounded the commendation and call when officially visiting Temeke Regional Referral Hospital in Temeke Municipality, Dar es Salaam, to inspect progress made by the program in improving the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Dr. Shekalaghe, who was accompanied by the NEST360 team, visited the hospital on September 24, 2022, and toured the NICU which was built with funds from NEST360. During the tour, he witnessed various activities, including the medical equipment installed and used in the neonatal ward.

“I want to applaud Ifakara Health Institute for your contribution and your support of the government’s efforts to tackle this challenge of newborn deaths,” he remarked, urging Ifakara to expand the implantation of the NEST360 program to district hospitals in the country, especially those in dire need of the services.

“I would like to urge Ifakara to also capacitate district hospitals in the country with the NEST360 program. This will support the Ministry of Health’s efforts to improve the health of mothers and children, reduce newborn mortality, reduce the referral system as well as reduce the government expenses,” he said.

NEST360 Country Director in Tanzania, Catherine Paul, highlighted some of the achievements the program made at Temeke hospital and also commended the hospital management for their efforts in providing high-quality comprehensive newborn care.

“We have seen tremendous changes as a result of the cooperation of the hospital management, increase in medical professionals (nurses and biomedical engineers) as well as medical equipment; all of which enable the hospital to provide excellent care to sick and small newborns.”

About the 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).