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Improving Newborn and Pediatric Care: A Lifesaving Initiative in Ethiopia

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To address the high neonatal mortality rate in Ethiopia, we initiated a project to support the full operation of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Malnutrition Unit at St.L uke Wolisso Hospital. As the referral hospital for the entire Shoa zone for neonatology, the hospital plays a key role in saving the lives of newborns and malnourished children in the region

The high under-5 mortality rates in Ethiopia are due, among other things, to limited access to high-quality health care services, especially in rural areas, where the majority of the population lives. Malnutrition remains a serious problem, with food insecurity and inadequate nutrition contributing to increased susceptibility to disease. Preventable and treatable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria remain a threat due to difficulties in early diagnosis and timely access to appropriate medical care.

In response to high rates of severe malnutrition among young children, in 2009, St. Luke Wolisso Therapeutic Unit opened. In 2023, this branch was renovated and rehabilitated. It currently offers specialized care with 24 beds divided into stages of initial treatment, transition period and rehabilitation. In July and August 2023, the project supported the treatment of 41 severely malnourished children, covering their monthly medical costs. 119 pathological newborns were treated in the ICU and 21 patients with fetal disorders underwent cesarean section during delivery.

The project also focuses on ensuring buffer stocks of key medicines for ICUs and TFUs. These include tetracycline eye ointment, to prevent eye infections in newborns, and antibiotics, to fight serious infections. Additionally, necessary supplies such as gloves, syringes, and intravenous tubing were purchased to facilitate safe and effective treatment. Professional equipment is necessary to maintain high standards of care. Necessary instruments include infusion pumps, oxygen concentrators, baby incubators, radiant heaters, phototherapy devices, and more. A blood testing machine, reagents and a blood refrigerator were also purchased to improve laboratory diagnostics.

The project focuses on improving the quality and functioning of health services for newborns and the Malnutrition Department of St. Hospital. Łukasz Wolisso. By focusing on effective, safe and timely care, this initiative will make significant progress towards reducing infant mortality and malnutrition in the region.

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