Helen Nabwera

A community-based package of interventions for low birth weight infants: a feasibility study

2.6 million newborn die every year. Interventions to reduce these newborn deaths are of high priority. My project seeks to develop and test a novel package of community-based interventions targeting newborns at high risk of death. The knowledge and the outputs generated will be used to develop and evaluate a package of care in a large-scale intervention study to generate policy-relevant data. This pilot (and subsequent work) will be conducted within the platform created by the LSTM’s Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health in collaboration with long-standing partners.

LSTM has been instrumental in driving the agenda for improving facility-based maternal and newborn care through quality improvement initiatives, in partnership with ministries of health in a number of sub-Saharan African countries. These have included health care worker in-service training programmes on emergency care during labour and maternal death review audits. While successful, post-discharge outcomes for low birth weight infants are either poor or largely unknown due to inadequate systems of follow-up and the weak interphase between the health facilities and community health structures.

The proposed package of community-based interventions for low birth weight infants seeks to strengthen the support and follow-up mechanisms for these vulnerable infants, in order to reduce the burden of ill health and death.