The initiative will focus on countries where many women still deliver at home and where newborn death rates and numbers are high. While most of the key low-tech interventions that will save newborn lives are household behaviors, a few involve commodities such as a cap to cover the baby's head to keep it warm, soap, a new razor blade or other cutting implement, clean cord ties, and a plastic sheet on which to deliver the baby, which will be included in a locally developed newborn care kit. Knitted caps are to be donated by knitters in the United States. The newborn care kit initiative would allow community health workers to distribute these key commodities and deliver behavior change messages to pregnant mothers and those that influence their practices-all for approximately per newborn. Over the next five years, the commitment hopes to deliver two million kits to families in rural communities to reduce newborn deaths in Asia and Africa.
The objectives for the PATH commitment are:
- To develop, produce, distribute, and promote the use of an inexpensive enhanced newborn care kit containing clinically proven components across communities with high newborn mortality.
- Couple kit distribution with appropriate community mobilization and behavior change interventions focused on five simple newborn care practices: early exclusive breastfeeding, thermal care, cord care, hand washing, and promotion of birth with a skilled birth attendant, and where possible, at a quality facility.
The project will be implemented in a phased approach. Phase one (one to two years) will involve roll-out of newborn kits and associated outreach/behavior change communication (BCC) interventions in one or two target countries to build successful models that will serve as a platform for initial work in health message and product development. Phase two (three to five years) will involve replication and scale-up of those successful models in additional countries and continued work on improving kit contents, adding appropriate new commodities, and refining BCC interventions.
Proposed long-term activities of the project include:
- BCC: Develop appropriate BCC interventions to accompany the kits. Build on partners' existing programmatic platforms in target countries and in collaboration with key local institutions and stakeholders.
- Manufacturing and distribution: Establish local production and distribution of kits.
- Product development: Enhance existing kit commodities and/or develop new products in collaboration with private-sector companies and PATH product development team.
- Research: Conduct research on potential new clinical kit components.
- Advocacy and fund raising: Use the partners and the CGI platform to increase awareness and influence global policy environment around newborn and maternal health.
Over five years, PATH aim to distribute 2 millions kits to pregnant women and their familes. Additionally they aim to collect 500,000 donated knitted caps per year.