Global Health Initiatives

TECaN/VON Helping Babies Breathe Co-Facilitators

We are pleased to announce our first TECaN/VON HBB Co-facilitator Scholarships for the 2018 Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) 2nd edition Master Trainer Course, co-sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine (SONPM) and Vermont Oxford Network (VON).  Congratulations to the 2018 award recipients!

Help improve neonatal care in resource limited settings.

Click here to support VON’s Global Neonatal Database and volunteer program to help change practices and save lives.

Vermont Oxford Network’s tools and coaching are tailored for local improvement. Our long-term partnerships with health care providers in global resource-limited communities enables sustainable data-driven quality improvement. VON faculty, staff, and volunteers develop deep relationships with doctors, nurses, and administrators to build skills in data analysis and increase capacity for quality improvement projects.

Over the years, our teams have accomplished improved results and sustained better outcomes for infants and families in Ethiopia.

Tikur Anbessa Volunteer Program

Multidisciplinary VON faculty teams will spend three weeks at a time providing clinical mentoring, medical care, and quality improvement training for NICU nurses and physicians at Tikur Anbessa Hospital in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian Neonatal Network (ENN)

The ENN launched with 20 of Ethiopia’s largest academic and public hospitals in February 2018. Members submit a one-page data form through REDCap on all infants admitted to the neonatal unit. In-person workshops for ENN members facilitated by VON faculty and Ethiopian Pediatrics Society support collaboration and coaching for goal-setting and implementing quality improvement methods.

Fundraising supports Ethiopian Neonatal Network meetings.We provide daily wages and transportation for the head NICU nurse and pediatrician from 20 hospitals to attend.

Tikur Anbessa NICU Project

In Ethiopia, approximately 89,000 babies die every year in the first four weeks of life. This accounts for 47% of all deaths in children younger than 5 years of age in Ethiopia. The Countdown to 2015 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that primary causes of neonatal deaths are due to prematurity, perinatal asphyxia, sepsis, pneumonia, and congenital anomalies.

TAH_NICU_logo_croppedThe aim of the Addis Ababa University / Vermont Oxford Network / Tikur Anbessa NICU Project collaboration is to improve the quality of medical care for newborn infants and their families in Ethiopia through training and research designed to address the specific needs and resource constraints of the country. As partnerships evolve, a global community of neonatal practices will be created and supported that includes health professionals from diverse settings around the world.


Since 2009, teams of medical professionals from the US have served as volunteers at the Tikur Anbessa Hospital NICU. Together, we have worked to improve the physical environment with room separation, renovations, and individualized blended oxygen. We collaboratively implemented management guidelines for IV fluids, enteral feeding, iron and multivitamin supplementation, standardized documentation, and high-risk NICU follow-up. Our multi-disciplinary teams led focused medical practice improvement initiatives including hand hygiene, feeding protocols, and hypothermia prevention. Vermont Oxford Network and Tikur Anbessa Hospital thank the medical professionals who have generously volunteered their time and expertise.



TA_faculty_croppedVermont Oxford Network is extremely proud to have trained, and continue to work with the first three Ethiopian-trained neonatologists, Dr. Asrat Demtse, Dr. Goitom Gebreyesus, and Dr. Hailu Berta.

In 2015, in support of Vermont Oxford Network’s mission and vision, Danielle Ehret MD, MPH was appointed as the inaugural Director of Global Health. In pursuit of our aim, our current initiatives include the design and implementation of a delivery room resuscitation team at Tikur Anbessa Hospital. Our team is modeling quality improvement in a low-income country setting, with the goal of sharing our experience and knowledge. We are also working with partners at the Ethiopian Pediatric Society to develop a standardized NICU database for the country, and to share our expertise in collaborative networks. We strive to support the curriculum and continuation of the neonatology fellowship at Tikur Anbessa Hospital, and the education of Ethiopia’s leading neonatal experts and our colleagues.


We have developed strong professional relationships among health care providers in our two countries and contributed to the training of Ethiopian health professionals in neonatal medicine and nursing. We thank all of the staff and trainees at the Tikur Anbessa Hospital for the hospitality, kindness, learning opportunities, and professional collegiality that our volunteers have received. We look forward to many more successful years ahead.



To learn more about volunteering, please read our Orientation Manual