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Major Strides in Kybele’s Saving Lives at Birth Initiative in Ghana

Major Strides in Kybele’s Saving Lives at Birth Initiative in Ghana

By Erin Pfeiffer, Kybele Grants Manager

We are honored to be a Round Eight awardee of the internationally recognized Grand Challenges Saving Lives at Birth program — one of Kybele’s most prestigious recognitions to date. In 2019 and 2020, Kybele is scaling our proven, innovative triage system to six high-risk obstetric hospitals in Ghana. Collective funding for the initiative is $984,069 USD and leverages the resources of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Norad, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada, UK Department for International Development (DFID), Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and Kybele’s private match funding. Out of 500 applications worldwide, only three applicants received awards. This places Kybele’s work among the most significant initiatives to improve maternal and neonatal lives in the period of childbirth worldwide.

Kybele’s Obstetric Triage Implementation Project (OTIP) addresses critical delays that tragically cause high rates of preventable maternal and neonatal death. In Ghana, which faces high maternal and neonatal mortality rates, childbirth facilities operate a first-come, first-served system, leading to life-threatening treatment delays that sometimes take days for women with dangerous conditions such as hemorrhage and pre-eclampsia.

“Maternal mortality rates in regional hospitals are two to three times higher than the national average,” said Dr. Medge Owen, who co-developed OTIP with a multidisciplinary team of Kybele clinicians, implementation scientists and Ghana Health Service leaders. At the pilot site, the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, patient waiting time from arrival to evaluation decreased from 40 minutes to 5 minutes with improved treatment strategies.

In the first eight months, Kybele has already scaled the pilot to two additional high-volume referral hospitals — Weija Municipal Hospital and Nsawam Government Hospital — and looks forward to launching OTIP at the next two facilities next month. We anticipate reaching at least 300 clinicians and over 60,000 pregnant women and newborns throughout the next year and a half.