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Neonatal Survival Program empowers healthcare providers in Haiti and East Africa

With the focus on improving neonatal survival by building healthcare capacity, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center has saved an estimated 225,720 newborns in Haiti, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania through its Neonatal Survival Program.

The program was founded in 2013 with a $2.5 million donation from Greif, Inc., through its Greif Packaging Charitable Trust, and is led by Diane Gorgas, MD, executive director of the Wexner’s Office of Global Health. By partnering with established in-country institutions to better identify community needs, Gorgas and her team have developed culturally sensitive and focused training programs that have helped recruit community healthcare workers.

With sustainability and long-term success in mind, the program follows a Train-the-Trainer model, in which initial participants are trained in newborn care, from basic resuscitation to advanced neonatal concepts, and in addition, complete a program where they learn how to teach and disseminate the information to others in their home country.

More than 1,000 healthcare workers, including physicians, nurses and community healthcare workers have been trained through the program.

“The Ohio State Neonatal Survival Program has created a sustainable, expansive program which has significantly decreased newborn mortality in low income countries,” said Dr. Gorgas. “The Ohio State Neonatal Survival training programs in Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania have proven benefit in reaching millions of lives and improving medical care to the most vulnerable patients, mothers and babies.”

In 2018, the Neonatal Survival Program was awarded the Distinguished International Engagement Award by the Office of International Affairs.