In the city of Goma, DRC, nurses are testing a new approach to scaling newborn care that combines traditional hands-on training with Global Strategies’ NoviGuide software. The goal is to dramatically increase the number of trained nurses in this busy provincial capital.
“What we are seeing in Goma is what happens when you integrate a digital tool into a strong and trusted neonatal training program,” says Global Strategies President Dr. Joshua Bress.
How does it work? Nurses come to the neonatal center of excellence at HEAL Africa Hospital in Goma to receive hands-on training. That hands-on training includes key skills, such as neonatal resuscitation, intravenous line placement and the feeding of preterm babies. But they also learn how to use the NoviGuide software and return to their home institutions with the software loaded on tablets. “There are techniques where having an expert is really useful to model a specific, hands-on skill,” says Global Strategies program manager Jean Armas, “but experts are rare, they can only teach so many students at once, and they’re usually busy using their expertise. There are other aspects of newborn care where an expert showing you or telling you once in a lecture is really not the most effective way to learn and retain knowledge long-term.”
North Kivu has quickly become one of the most active settings for NoviGuide with more than 5,000 assessments completed in the past year. Nurses use it for both sick and well babies. They report improved confidence in their care delivery and stronger collaboration with staff physicians. For Nurse Euphrasie, at Muungano Hospital in Goma, the experience with NoviGuide matches the results from formal studies of NoviGuide in Uganda. She reports that the NoviGuide ‘gave me courage’ to evaluate babies in the post-partum ward and often alerted her to risk factors or danger signs she might not have detected. In addition, nurses use NoviGuide to help first-time parents prepare for going home with their new babies. With more sites coming online in 2023, we anticipate that NoviGuide usage will exceed 20,000 assessments per year by 2024.