As one of the eight Empowered Action Group States in India—those States with high fertility rates and weak socio-demographic indicators—Jharkhand has an infant mortality rate of 42, and an under-five mortality rate of 62. As such, efforts to strengthen newborn care and resuscitation techniques are crucial for saving babies' lives.
With this goal in mind, MCHIP began supporting the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, State health departments, USAID bilateral health programs, and the new National Newborn Care and Resuscitation Initiative (NSSK) in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Activites to strengthen and expand access to essential newborn care (ENC) and teach basic resuscitation included "cross learning" sessions for the Jharkhand districts of Jamtara and Deogarh.
These sessions enabled staff at district facilities to share their experiences and to learn from each other’s best practices for ENC and resuscitation. They also demonstrated the elements of a scalable program model for improving facility-based and community-based newborn care.
Led by MCHIP-trained auxiliary nurse-midwives and nurses, the sessions were divided into six parts:
Organization of the delivery room: Demonstrated how a delivery room can be well-organized to provide uninterrupted and high-quality delivery services irrespective of its size;
Skill lab with demonstration of ENC and resuscitation: Showed how to set up a skill lab and use self-learning aides—such as practicing ENC and resuscitation on baby mannequins—to increase knowledge;
Records and reporting: Highlighted the importance of effective reporting and how it can answer crucial questions such as, “What is it that I need to measure in order to know what to do?”;
Infection prevention and waste disposal: Explained the methods of waste disposal and how to locally procure essential drugs, the shortage of which can hamper effective service delivery; and
Innovations and feedback: Enabled discussion of innovative solutions to common problems, eliciting interesting solutions (such as the use of vaccine carriers for storing oxytocin, Hepatitis B and injectable Vitamin K, and mapping of deliveries to be able to match interventions with problems).
The sessions were effective in updating the knowledge and skills of attendees and instructors alike. Rakhi Kumari, an auxiliary nurse-midwife and supervisor for the activity said: “Learning and teaching are a great experience. Learning new things and applying them in my work will help me serve more people and make them happy.”