The Pulse: Ensuring That the Happiest Moments Last

The Pulse: Ensuring That the Happiest Moments Last

November 25, 2014 at 12:11pm

A moment that should be one of the happiest for any parent – the birth of a child – can sometimes become one of the most difficult, when a newborn has to be treated in a hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). However, Saudi Arabia  decided it would take decisive action to ensure this happiest of moments stayed that way as much as possible.

In fact, the country found that it had an approximate 20% rate of NICU admissions per 100 live births compared to 12% globally. Even more concerning, there was a 10%-20% mortality rate in the country’s NICUs, significantly higher than the rate found in developed countries.

GE partnered with the government to address the issues surrounding childbirth, newborn babies and hospital NICU units, with a taskforce established, field visits conducted and a report published outlining recommendations. Key to the success of the program was the information-gathering process, which included interviews with NICU staff, data collection, walk-throughs of hospital NICUs, process mapping, and best-practice comparisons.

Five factors were found to most significantly influence newborn mortality: policies and statistics, NICU layout and design, manpower and skills, equipment and supplies, and patient flow.

As a result, several immediate steps were taken, including upgrading NICU staff skills and revision of the Neonatal Car Guidelines. This included a program to improve NICU staff competencies in six selected hospitals.

After identifying the gaps and training needs of the staff, training courses (both classroom and on-the-job) were developed, and international experts delivered team-based training. The staff received special training from physicians, and a train-the-trainer program was established to ensure the sustainability of the training regimen.

A longer-term phased approach also was proposed to develop and implement comprehensive solutions aimed at improving baby care in the country.

Health care is evolving in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey (MENAT) as the medical needs change, requiring the latest technologies and quality of care. GE is helping realize this evolution, examples of which are profiled in “The Pulse” posts on Hewar. Explore how GE works as an active partner supporting a healthy and productive citizenry in Saudi Arabia.

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