With an estimated 97,000 annual neonatal deaths and a neonatal mortality rate of 33 per 1,000 live births, Ethiopia is one of the riskiest places for neonates. Globally, preterm and low-birth weight (PT-LBW) neonates account for about 80% of the neonatal deaths. The ministry of health (MoH) aims to reduce neonatal mortality rate from 33 per 1,000 live births in 2019 to 12 in 2025.
Under the leadership and coordination of the ministry of health and regional health bureaus the Saving Little Lives (SLL) initiative aims to reduce neonatal mortality by 35% at the scale-up sites by achieving 80% coverage of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), CPAP treatment, bag & mask resuscitation, and sepsis treatment among eligible PT-LBW neonates across 290 hospitals in six large regions.
Six regional health bureaus (RHBs), four academic institutions, and UNICEF have joined forces with the MoH to design, scale up, and assess the SLL program, which is sponsored by the Global Financing Facility (GFF). In addition, a global technical advisory group (TAG) including the Laerdal Foundation, BMGF, UNICEF, WHO, LSHTM, Harvard SOM/SPH, and Ethiopia Pediatric Society has been recruited to support SLL’s robust utilization of global learnings and scientific insights.
SLL scale-up occurs in three phases over three years’ time covering 73, 145, 73 hospitals in the first, second, and third phases, respectively. Continuous data collection and analysis will be used to inform and refine the intervention and to improve program performance.