By Steve Adudans & Aba Asibon
As cases of COVID-19 increase in Africa, NEST is committed now more than ever to ensuring that every hospital in sub-Saharan Africa can deliver life-saving care for newborns. This pandemic underscores the importance of strengthening all health systems to provide critical care, including that needed by small and sick newborns, and developing a sustainable supply chain for affordable, robust medical technologies.
We salute the nurses and doctors across Africa who are caring for small and sick newborns every day and fighting this pandemic in their hospitals. We salute the biomedical technicians who are working to keep existing equipment operational and saving lives.
As we have seen happen in countries around the world, this pandemic, as others before it, will test the limits of African health systems.
This pandemic underscores the importance of strengthening all health systems to provide critical care, including that needed by small and sick newborns, and developing a sustainable supply chain for affordable, robust medical technologies.
All NEST partner institutions are considering how we can each contribute to preventing or mitigating the crisis, and we are looking at ways to leverage our strengths together to support the efforts of frontline healthcare workers.
NEST partner Center for Public Health and Development (CPHD) and its subsidiary, Hewatele, is the leading provider of lifesaving oxygen in Kenya. Hewatele’s mission of ensuring the provision and distribution of affordable oxygen will be critical to meeting patient needs during this crisis. Hewatele’s commitment to production, distribution and training on the appropriate use of oxygen systems addresses major gaps in the health system’s ability to provide safe and regular oxygen. CPHD has called on the Kenyan government to “take urgent measures to save our population from catastrophe by stocking adequate ventilators in health facilities.”
What CPHD is doing to support the oxygen supply in Kenya is just one example of the ways NEST partners are making contributions to the health care challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. In the coming weeks NEST360° will feature the work of our partners, from engineering innovation to clinical care, in the countries where we work.
In sharing these stories, it is our sincere hope that others are as inspired by them as we have been, and encouraged by what is possible when a community of stakeholders come together to meet what seems like an insurmountable challenge.
Steve Adudans Aba Asibon
Executive Director NEST International Programs Director
Center for Public Health & Development Rice 360° Institute for Global Health