2.5 million newborns die in the first 28-days of life every year. To provide high-quality, potentially life-saving newborn care, we must rapidly train more global healthcare workers to deliver high-quality care.
In a paper published this month in JMIR Mhealth Uhealth, the University of California San Francisco Preterm Birth Initiative and Global Strategies suggest that NoviGuide, a clinical decision support software designed by Global Strategies, has the potential to improve newborn healthcare in rural Uganda. Researchers, led by principal investigator Dr. Mary Muhindo, examined whether NoviGuide – which helps healthcare workers recognize and address common newborn conditions including prematurity, infection, respiratory distress and HIV exposure – could be seamlessly integrated into the labor and delivery ward of a busy Ugandan district hospital.
The study followed 19 nurse-midwives providing newborn care at Tororo District Hospital in Eastern Uganda. In rural Uganda, midwives are the sole newborn care providers, but they are understaffed, have high turnover and often lack newborn care skills. Under the direction of Dr. Muhindo, nurses and midwives primarily trained in the care of pregnant women and deliveries used NoviGuide to guide their care of newborns. After a brief training, the nurses were given access to NoviGuide on tablets and encouraged to use it in their newborn treatment.
Over a 12 month period, the midwives used NoviGuide frequently and consistently, completing 1,412 comprehensive assessments. Midwives reported very high levels of satisfaction with the software. All participants in the study strongly agreed that NoviGuide improved newborn care delivery and reduced mistakes in newborn care.
“In rural Uganda, where I work, midwives are the sole newborn care providers and yet they are understaffed, have high turnover and lack newborn care skills,” says Dr. Muhindo. “In our study, we observed midwives using NoviGuide seamlessly during their daily care of newborns reporting that NoviGuide simplified their work, saved time and prevented mistakes. The midwives provided timely and appropriate care and their knowledge and confidence improved simply by using NoviGuide. I believe NoviGuide has the potential to improve facility-based care of newborns in settings like mine.”
Following these encouraging results, researchers are now evaluating how to expand the use of NoviGuide using local trainers.
For the full paper in JMIR mHealth and uHealth: