The kick-off meeting for the SLL360 initiative, a collaboration between the Saving Little Lives (SLL) program and the NEST360 global alliance, was held on the 24th and 25th of April. The meeting was led by the Ministry of Health, supported by the NEST360, and saw full engagement of the regional health bureaus of Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, and Sidama.

The primary objective of the meeting was to support the government of Ethiopia in accelerating progress for newborn survival, in line with the targets set by SDG 3.2. The meeting also aimed to facilitate two-way implementation learning with four other African countries as part of the NEST360 Alliance, focusing on Quality Improvement, Data Systems, Health Technology Management and Devices, and Clinical and BMET Education.

The Saving Little Lives (SLL) program, owned and led by the Ministry of Health and technically supported by UNICEF, comprises four universities (Addis Ababa, Emory, Mekelle, Hawassa universities) and seven regions (Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, Sidama, Central Ethiopia, South Ethiopia, Southwest Ethiopia) in Ethiopia. This kickoff meeting served as a follow-up to the SSNC scale-up meeting held in November 2023, attended by H.E. Dr. Dereje Duguma, State Minister of Health, Ethiopia.

The discussions were centered around embedding the sick and/or small newborn care (SSNC) interventions within the government’s system and fostering collaborations with partners on the overall SLL360 strategy and the work plan for the first year. The meeting concluded with a positive outlook towards achieving these objectives and a commitment to continued collaboration. The continued efforts and commitment of all parties involved promise a positive impact on the newborn survival rates in Ethiopia and other African countries. The meeting concluded with a renewed sense of purpose and a clear roadmap for the year ahead.