The Ohio State University Greif Neonatal Survival Program (OSUGNP) has been impacting the lives of many since its beginning in 2012. The program, created with a $2.5 million grant from Greif Inc., works to improve the lives of mothers and infants in low-income countries, through self-sustaining education and training programs to increase the in-country capacity of healthcare workers.
Neonatal mortality is an escalating issue claiming the lives of nearly three million neonates in 2012, mostly in low-income countries. Poor prenatal care, intrauterine growth restriction, lack of intrapartum care by a skilled attendant and little to no medical care for ill newborns are factors associated with these neonatal death rates, with Haiti having the highest neonatal mortality rate in the western hemisphere.
After careful analysis of needs, considering the geographic centrality of the location, and with the support of the district hospital director, the decision was made by the OSU team to place the initial program site in L'Hôpital Sainte-Thérèse in Hinche, Haiti. The intent is to create a neonatal care training program, consisting of both continuing education programs in newborn resuscitation, e.g., Helping Babies Breathe® and the Neonatal Resuscitation Program™, taught by certified instructors, in a combined didactic and experiential course in specialized newborn care nursing.
Since its inception, Ohio State’s Greif Neonatal Survival Program has trained more than 300 nurses and physicians in newborn resuscitation, created a neonatal nurse training program that has graduated seven nurses and built an SNCU at L'Hôpital Sainte-Thérèse de Hinche. Led by Monica Terez, BSN, RN, C, Ohio State faculty and staff have contributed more than 1000 teaching and training hours, 300 of them volunteered. Hundreds of newborn lives have been saved, to the gratitude of hundreds of families. As of June 2014, nine college-trained nurses have been hired and trained in a six-week course, developed by the Ohio State team, involving lectures, clinical skills training and mentorship in delivery units (Labor and Delivery units and Operating Rooms) and in the specialized newborn care unit.
Daniel Sedmak, MD, executive director of the Office of Global Health at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, attributes much of the rapid success of the program to the many faculty and staff who have contributed their time and abilities. “The successful efforts of the past year were the result of the hard work of an incredible team of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center employees, all of whom are passionate about our efforts to save newborn lives, and each bringing their own unique and invaluable skills to accomplish the goals of the Greif initiative,” he says.
The next steps include developing more in-country neonatal clinical educators and leaders in alignment with the strategic plan of the Haitian Ministry of Health; developing a visiting neonatologist program in which Ohio State neonatologists will deliver core lectures to pediatricians in low-income countries, both in person and online; and taking the program to other low-resource settings such as Ethiopia (underway) and Kenya.