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Countries Where We Work

Mission

Through the coordinated work of a multidisciplinary team, we will improve the lives of mothers and infants in low-income countries. This will be accomplished through the creation of self-sustaining and scalable education programs for in-country health care workers.


Introduction

The Ohio State Greif Neonatal Survival Program was created with a $2.5 million gift from Greif, Inc., through its Greif Packaging Charitable Trust, to The Ohio State University to establish healthcare training and delivery programs in developing nations with the goal of permanently improving health conditions in these regions. This gift is mirrored by a similar one to the Global Health Delivery Partnership (GHDP), comprised of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Division of Global Health Equity, Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and Partners In Health (PIH).

Ohio State participates in the program through Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and its Office of Global Health under the leadership of Diane Gorgas, MD, and the team of Pamela Potter and Lynnsay Sinclair, program operations, and Monica Terez, nurse clinician/educator. Initially, the education programs were created and implemented in Haiti. Ohio State is focusing its expertise on improving neonatal survival through building in-country health care capacity by means of educational programs for healthcare workers at all levels, from physicians and nurses to community healthcare workers.

A central component of the Ohio State Greif Neonatal Survival Program is expanding to other low-income regions of the world, including Ethiopia and Kenya. The Ohio State team identifies in-country organizations that are deeply embedded and highly effective at working with the host country's health and education ministries and partners with them to maximize the impact of resources.


Overview of Global Neonatal Mortality

Approximately three million neonates died in 2012, most in low-income countries. While deaths among children under the age of 5 years old have declined dramatically over the past two decades, the decline in neonatal deaths has lagged. The result is that 44 percent of all deaths in children younger than 5 years old now occur in the first 30 days (Levels and Trends in Child Mortality, Report 2013. UN Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation). Three-quarters of these deaths occurred in the first week of life and just under half in the first 24 hours. The three most common causes of neonatal deaths are birth asphyxia, infections and complications of prematurity. Associated factors include poor prenatal care, intrauterine growth restriction, absence of intrapartum care by a skilled birth attendant, and little or no medical care of ill newborns. It has been estimated that 50 percent or more of newborn deaths could be prevented if skilled clinical care was available at birth and during the early neonatal period.

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Next Steps

As we set goals for 2015-2016, we have plans in place for exploratory and educational trips to Rwanda, Malawi and Tanzania. Planning for India and Southeast Asia educational programs is underway. We are truly living our dream, having created a vertical education and training ladder for all levels of care in neonatal medicine, from nurses, to physicians, to community healthcare workers, to families. The fruits of this scalable, portable and educationally exceptional training program are affecting the lives of babies worldwide, and making a tangible difference in the care of sick newborns.


Our Partners

An incredible amount has been accomplished in the first two years of the Ohio State Greif Neonatal Survival program, but we have our eyes set firmly on the future. This initiative would not have been possible without the support of our partners — Greif Charitable Trust, Masimo Corporation, Ganim Medical Inc., Free the Children, Ohio State One Health Initiative, and The Ohio State University. These organizations have generously contributed support for our work through donations of time, personnel, equipment, resources or gifts-in-kind. The continued collaboration with Partners in Heath, both in Haiti and now segueing into East Africa has produced outstanding educational and training results for both organizations.


Partnership Opportunities

To support the life-saving and capacity building work of the Ohio State Greif Neonatal Survival Program, please contact Pamela Potter in the Office of Global Health at 614-292-3684 or Pamela.Potter@osumc.edu.

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