A Community Health Worker Home Visitation Project to Prevent Neonatal Deaths in Kenya
Mwanthi, Mutuku A.
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Neonatal deaths account for 43% of under-S childhood deaths in Kenya. Most infants are born at home, and many of them die at home unaccounted for, often during the first week of life. Previous studies in which community health workers (CHWs) were trained to provide neonatal care reported reductions in neonatal mortality. These programmes required more resources than may be available in some resource-poor settings. We implemented a brief and inexpensive programme to train rural Kenyan CHWs to evaluate newborn infants for signs of severe illness during the first week of life and refer the ill infants to a health facility. During the first 12 months, 20 CHWs visited 702 infants, and all three visits were completed for 93% of the infants, There were five neonatal deaths, none after the first week of life. A brief low-cost training programme for CHW home visitation of newborns is feasible for rural Kenya and the larger African setting.