By Lorraine Anyango
Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) and the counties of Kisumu and Siaya reaffirmed their commitment to working together to reduce child mortality during a recent visit by CHAMPS’ Principal Investigator and Executive Director, Cynthia Whitney.
Data-Driven Solutions for Improved Outcomes:
Dr. Whitney had the opportunity to meet with beneficiaries of the Data to Action program, including health facility leaders, pediatricians, nurses, and lab technicians. These individuals shared how the program’s data-driven approach has helped them improve patient care and save lives.
JOOTRH Showcases Progress and Challenges:
At Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH), outgoing CEO Dr. George Rae praised CHAMPS for its role in reducing under-five mortality. He highlighted the importance of the program’s support in building a morgue and implementing data-driven solutions to prevent future deaths.
The team also witnessed the ongoing renovation of the JOOTRH maternity floor, funded by CHAMPS grants. This project aims to improve maternal safety and reduce preventable deaths. The head of the maternity unit, Ms. Rose Bela Apollo, emphasized the need to address preeclampsia, a major contributor to maternal and neonatal complications.
CHAMPS’ Multifaceted Approach:
CHAMPS’ efforts extend beyond infrastructure improvements. The program provides training sessions, Continuous Medical Education (CMEs), and communication support to healthcare workers. This holistic approach has led to a significant increase in skilled births and improved capacity to manage postpartum hemorrhage and other critical conditions.
A case study of a mother named Mary Awino (not her real name) exemplifies the program’s impact. Referred from a lower-level facility, JOOTRH doctors stabilized her condition and performed a life-saving C-section. Thanks to CHAMPS-supported communication channels, Mary receives ongoing care at both JOOTRH and her local health center.
Obama Children’s Hospital Sees Positive Changes:
The team also visited the Obama Children’s Hospital, where CHAMPS’ capacity-building initiatives have helped address skill gaps and improve quality of care. Autopsies conducted by CHAMPS have identified new pathogens contributing to neonatal deaths, leading to improved diagnostic and treatment practices.
The hospital has also seen a significant decline in neonatal mortality due to malaria since implementing CHAMPS-supported testing protocols. Additionally, the program provided vital equipment like injection and infusion pumps, oximeters, and support for CMEs.
Addressing Sickle Cell Disease:
With a high burden of sickle cell disease in Kisumu, CHAMPS has equipped JOOTRH with a hydroxyurea reconstitution system to improve the management of affected children.
The visit underscores the strong partnership between CHAMPS and Kisumu/Siaya counties. The program’s data-driven approach, capacity-building initiatives, and communication support are making a tangible difference in the lives of mothers and children. By continuing to work together, these partners aim to further reduce child mortality and ensure a healthier future for all.