Kybele Awarded $3.2 Million to Invest in an Advanced Newborn Care Model in Ghana
Kybele is proud to announce that we have been awarded $3.2M from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation ( to lead the implementation of an Advanced Newborn Care model for treating small and sick babies in Ghana. CIFF, the world’s largest philanthropy that focuses specifically on improving children’s lives, is known for working with a wide range of partners to transform the lives of children in developing countries.

The program, which will be implemented over four years, will establish operating procedures for timely, quality newborn intensive care in line with governmental priorities. The goal is to reduce institutional perinatal mortality (stillbirth and newborn death) in four of the highest-volume referral hospitals in Ghana. Kybele will work under the leadership of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), PATH, and other key stakeholders to ensure sustainability beyond the end of the program and will focus on the following four areas:.

  • Introducing advanced clinical and operational processes for treating premature and sick newborns
  • Improving the staffing models, equipment and supplies to provide better newborn care
  • Establishing hospital data systems that can measure clinical and operational processes and impact
  • Advocating for policies and standards that promote advanced newborn care in a manner that is sustainable and replicable.

The model will be implemented in the following four Ghanaian referral hospitals: Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Tema General Hospital, Koforidua Regional Hospital, and Sunyani Regional Hospital. In addition to targeting these facilities, the program will strengthen the referral system in 16-20 high-volume district-level hospitals that most commonly refer patients for secondary– or tertiary-level care.

This four-year endeavor is an incredible opportunity to systematically address the root causes of neonatal mortality in Ghana,” says primary investigator Dr. Medge Owen, professor of obstetric anesthesiology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Kybele executive director. “Kybele is thrilled to leverage our longstanding experience in Ghana to make sustainable improvements in the health system.

Although we continue to maintain precaution during the COVID-19 travel advisories, Kybele’s team leaders for our work in Ghana are actively engaged — by conducting weekly meetings via Zoom and by utilizing WhatsApp and other collaborative technologies — in preparation for the work ahead.

New Kybele Publications
Kybele’s approach continues to gain international recognition for improving the quality and safety of healthcare for women and newborns in low– and middle-income countries. Despite the constraints and challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic, Kybele’s medical and implementation science experts have made ongoing contributions to the literature regarding health-system strengthening.

Two recent publications specifically highlighted Kybele’s obstetric and neonatal initiatives in Ghana:
Evaluation of two newborn resuscitation training strategies in regional hospitals in Ghana” (authored by Kimberly P. Brathwaite, Fiona Bryce, Laurel B. Moyer, Cyril Engmann, Nana A.Y. Twum-Danso, Beena D. Kamath-Rayne, Emmanuel K. Srofenyoh, Sebnem Ucer, Richard O. Boadu, and Medge D. Owen) was published in the March–June 2020 volume of Resuscitation Plus. In this manuscript, two newborn resuscitation training and evaluation approaches are described for frontline newborn care providers at regional hospitals as a part of the 2013–18 Making Every Baby Count Initiative in Ghana. A modified newborn resuscitation program (NRP) was taught at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital and evaluated with real-time clinical observations. Another approach, which included Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) and Essential Care for Every Baby (ECEB) training followed by objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE) with manikins, was utilized in Sunyani, Koforidua, Ho and Kumasi South Regional Hospitals. The authors describe the pros and cons of each approach and present outcomes in knowledge retention, resuscitation practices, and institutional fresh stillbirth and newborn mortality rates. The paper highlights the tremendous need for newborn resuscitation training in low-resource settings and for further consensus around the optimal training, monitoring and evaluation to reduce neonatal mortality. Significant learnings from this research have informed Kybele’s follow-on initiative in Ghana: Advanced Newborn Care—MEBCI 2.0.
A protocol for evaluating a multi-level implementation theory to scale-up obstetric triage in referral hospitals in Ghana was published in in the May 2020 volume of Implementation Science. Authors Caitlin R. Williams, Stephanie Bogdewic, Medge D. Owen, Emmanuel K. Srofenyoh, and Rohit Ramaswamy describe the theory behind Kybele’s successful obstetric triage system designed to help midwives more quickly and accurately evaluate patients when they arrive for care at the hospital. The program, piloted in partnership with the Ghana Health Service in 2013, was replicated in another large hospital in the Greater Accra region and scaled to six additional referral hospitals using a theory-based implementation and mixed-methods evaluation approach. This paper provides an example of how to use implementation theory to guide the development and evaluation of programs in complex, real-world settings to ultimately close the “know-do” gap. The work, funded through the highly competitive Saving Lives at Birth program, is ongoing.
Join us in improving childbirth and saving the lives of babies and mothers across the globe by becoming a Kybele Monthly Donor.
Our monthly donors sustain the year-round work of Kybele by filling in the gaps that grants and other funding sources do not meet. Through your support, we are able to continue to share safe childbirth practices like those highlighted above in Ghana as well as in more than a dozen other countries.
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Kybele Board of Directors
Fiona Bryce
Curtis Baysinger
Lisa Corbett
Stan Dean
Lawrence Fordjour
David Goodman
Shahla Namak
Melvin Seid
Ann Smith
Kybele Staff
Medge Owen, Founder & Executive Director
Sebnem Ucer, Accounts Manager
Erin Pfeiffer, Grants Manager & Program Coordinator
Sharon Nelson, Strategic Communications Manager
Kimber Whanger, Marketing & Admin
Dayne Logan, Editor

Photos by Yesim Unal and Aziz Celebi. © Kybele
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