A good start: Increase newborn survival at three Tanzanian hospitals

Organisation: SolidarMed
Partner organisation in partner country: District and Regional Health Management Teams, Ifakara Health Instsitute



Tanzania has a neonatal mortality rate of 20 per 1000 live births (2021). Key reasons are the lack of necessary equipment and infrastructure at rural facilities and lack of skilled staff. At project start, only one hospital in Morogoro Region (population of 2.7 million, 49’000 births per year) provided basic newborn care. Evidence for the most cost-effective service package was missing.


Improve newborn survival at three Tanzanian hospitals combined with implementation research to identify the most cost-effective service package for scale up

  1. Annual proportion of neonatal deaths per hospital out of all neonates born alive in this facility in the same period
  2. % of preterm newborns starting Kangaroo Mother Care immediately after birth with the mother or a surrogate / total of preterm neonates (per hospital)
  3. Cumulative number of Health Care Workers per target hospital trained in Essential Newborn Care and Obstetric Care.
  • Improvement of infrastructure and provision of medical equipment (construction of newborn care units, purchase of CPAP and other equipment)
  • Capacity building of health staff, using a variety of methods
  • Supportive supervision and mentoring of health staff
  • Infection Prevention and Control 
  • Implementation research to identify the most cost effective intervention package to increase newborn survival 

The project was developed in partnership with the district and regional health departments as well as with the research institution IHI. SolidarMed plays a facilitatory role while the existing local structures lead the project activities. The interventions and research components are designed with robust monitoring aiming at sharing evidence and demonstrating how interventions are best delivered at a larger scale. SolidarMed has a long track record of integrating projects into existing structures. Sustainability is facilitated by the fact that the interventions are aligned with national strategies and contribute to achieving national key objectives.

Special features:

Through implementation research, the project generates scientific evidence for the minimum intervention package and outcome of newborn 2 weeks after discharge from the hospital. This information will guide policy dialogue and further scale up. 
In addition, the project applies a new, interactive training methodology for health staff and provided technical equipment that is new, but adequate, for this context (e.g. Moyo fetal heart rate monitor, Vayu bubble CPAP).