Improving neonatal care at Leku Hospital through development of a project to introduce reusable diapers to the Leku Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region of Ethiopia (SNNPR).
Newborn children in Ethiopia are at a particular risk, as it is a nation with a high neonatal mortality rate of 28 deaths per 1,000 live births. Currently, mothers of NICU patients at Leku Hospital tend to wrap their newborns in traditional scarves that quickly become saturated in urine and feces. The lack of waste management puts vulnerable neonates at risk of developing an array of adverse health outcomes including diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A, and skin infection. Inadequate thermal protection from wet wrappings also puts newborns at an increased risk of hypothermia, severe upper respiratory infections, asphyxia and death. Inadequate thermal protection from wet wrappings also puts newborns at an increased risk of hypothermia, severe upper respiratory infections, asphyxia and death.
To introduce reusable diapers into the Leku Hospital NICU. Diapering is not currently a common practice in Ethiopia; therefore, user-centered design is essential to ensure nurses’ and families’ knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of diapering practices are incorporated throughout the program. In addition to addressing preventable neonatal mortality, this program must also create a sustainable, community-based business model for diaper production and cleaning.
A proposal for a sustainable, low cost program to provide clean diapers in the NICU at least eight times daily for thirty patients and to develop a business plan to employ four community members in diaper production, cleaning, and restocking from month six onward.
The Diaper Project will help combat some of the most common and preventable causes of neonatal mortality among the vulnerable NICU population at Leku Hospital. The project will rely heavily on the input of local families and hospital staff to ensure that it is designed and implemented in a user-centered and sustainable manner. In addition to providing a potentially lifesaving service for NICU neonates, the diaper program will also establish sustainable employment opportunities for local entrepreneurs. We anticipate that this program will be highly scalable and that after successful implementation in the NICU, the program can be expanded across all of Leku Hospital and, ultimately, be implemented at other medical sites and in communities throughout Ethiopia.
This project took four months to complete from kick-off meeting to presentation of final deliverables. Click the button below for a detailed timeline.View Project Timeline