Global Health

New African Neonatal Network Provides Data-Driven Solutions to Infant Mortality

Vermont Oxford Network has partnered with the African Neonatal Association to create the African Neonatal Network, a data-driven quality improvement community of inpatient neonatal units. To support the quality improvement efforts of participating hospitals, VON developed standardized data collection and reporting tools co-designed with stakeholders and neonatal leaders from the ANA with support from an investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The network is initially starting in five countries: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

This multidisciplinary neonatal community will serve as a learning and leadership development community. The new neonatal network standardizes data for benchmarking, quality improvement, education, advocacy, and research with the aim to improve care and outcomes across the continent.

“The spirit of the neonatal improvement community – comprised of governments, NGOs, foundations, universities, researchers, clinicians, professional societies, and family advocacy groups – is collegial, aspiring to ‘go faster and farther together,’” said Danielle Ehret, VON Chief Medical Officer and Director of Global Health. “The African Neonatal Network learning community will connect care teams and experts across sectors to apply collaborative quality improvement and learn from each other.”

To support this learning community, VON developed an electronic data submission form and reporting tools for centers to track key quality metrics and benchmark against the rest of the network. The ANN database provides continuous and real-time knowledge of processes and outcomes of patients in the participating inpatient neonatal units, with seamless data integration into an online dashboard, reporting tool and data repository.

Efficient data collection and reporting will allow African neonatal quality improvement teams to maximize resources to implement, scale-up and share lessons learned from quality improvement projects within the broader ANA community. Participating teams will also have access to the VON Foundations in Quality Improvement online course to increase their quality improvement capability and enhance African QI mentorship.

About the African Neonatal Association

African Neonatal Association (ANA) was established in 2021 by more than 200 neonatal leaders in 42 countries. The partnership with ANA expands from VON’s work with the Ethiopian Neonatal Network of 20 hospitals, which was established in partnership with VON, the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health, and Ethiopian Pediatrics Society in 2018.

About Vermont Oxford Network

Vermont Oxford Network (VON) is a worldwide community of health care professionals dedicated to improving the quality, safety, and value of care for newborn infants and their families through a coordinated program of data-driven quality improvement, education, and research. Members use confidential information from the world’s largest and most comprehensive databases of infant data to benchmark their practices and outcomes and identify areas for improvement. Teams from around the world address critical and complex challenges of newborn care with evidence-based quality improvement methods guided by VON expert faculty and resources.

News Release – June 13, 2023

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