WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – November 2013 —Kybele, the humanitarian nonprofit dedicated to improving childbirth safety worldwide, received a four-year, $2.175 million grant to improve neonatal outcomes in Ghana, Africa.
The project is in collaboration with the Seattle-based Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, or PATH. The multi-million dollar project, funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), aims to address the tragedy of preventable maternal and newborn mortality that is commonplace in childbirth within West Africa. In Africa, one in eight children does not live to their fifth birthday, more than 17 times the average for industrialized regions. Approximately half of these deaths occur during the first four weeks of life.
Kybele was started almost 10 years ago by Medge Owen, M.D., a professor of Obstetric Anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She serves as the grant project director.
“The high level of neonatal loss is devastating,” Owen said. “Most of the deaths could be prevented with a few simple changes. Through this project we will introduce technology that is widely utilized in the United States to improve outcomes. A little can go a long way to give these babies a chance.”
Kybele will build upon six years of experience in Ghana to lead the establishment of three Centers of Excellence strategically placed throughout the country, which will serve as training sites for physicians and midwives from around the country. The initiative’s key strategy is to ensure long-term technical competency in Ghana by building the advanced clinical skills of health professionals, identifying and nurturing local champions who will serve as role models and coaches for clinical staff around the country, improving hospital standards and protocols, and developing a rigorous system of continuous quality improvement to ensure sustained impact over time.
“This project is unique because it uses a multidisciplinary, team-oriented approach and blends hands-on clinical training with leadership development and quality improvement,” Owen said. “In addition, our team is acclimated to medical and cultural conditions in Ghana, making it easier to establish a true partnership with the local physicians and nurses. The results to date have been pretty amazing.”
The project will include faculty from the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill. Four times a year, Kybele will send teams of neonatologists, obstetricians, obstetric anesthesiologists, midwives, and organizational experts to Ghana to provide training and support at the Centers of Excellence. Based on Kybele’s renowned success from around the globe, the evidence-based strategy is anticipated to make significant improvements in maternal and neonatal outcomes.
In other news, Kybele has entered into a partnership with the Office of Global Health (OGH) at Wake Forest Baptist. This agreement benefits both sides, allowing the two entities to collaborate on global health and wellness activities, improve health care safety and offer educational/training opportunities to clinicians and students from the Wake Forest School of Medicine and other U.S.-based educational institutions.
Kybele is a humanitarian nonprofit organization dedicated to improving childbirth safety worldwide through educational partnerships. The role of Kybele is to bring professional medical teams into host countries, to work alongside doctors and nurses in their home hospitals, and to improve healthcare standards. Since 2004, Kybele has conducted medical training in Armenia, Brazil, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Ghana, Mongolia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, and Vietnam, training hundreds of doctors and nurses. Kybele programs have enlisted more than 400 medical professional volunteers from 64 institutions in 10 countries worldwide from 28 different disciplines including anesthesiologists, obstetricians, neonatologists, internists, nurses and midwifes—who together support Kybele’s vision of ensuring that every pregnant woman in the world is provided a safe, comfortable and healthy delivery.