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Ecuador’s El Comercio Highlights Declining Newborn Mortality Rates at Hospitals Participating in Quality Improvement

Dramatic reductions in newborn deaths at hospitals participating in a collaborative implemented by the Ministry of Health of Ecuador with technical assistance from QAP are beginning to draw attention from the national press.  El Comercio, Ecuador’s main newspaper, has reported on a sharp decline in newborn mortality rates and attributed the decline to implementation of quality improvement (QI) methods.

While the Essential Obstetric Care (EOC) Collaborative initiated by the Ministry of Health and QAP in 2003 was successful in raising the quality of routine delivery and immediate newborn care in the 12 Ecuadorian provinces where it operates, the management of maternal and newborn complications has remained a challenge.  With the transition of the EOC Collaborative to an institutionalized Continuous Quality Improvement function within the provincial health system, the Ministry of Health and QAP launched in 2006 an improvement collaborative to address the difficult challenges posed by the management of obstetrical complications.

Because 69% of maternal deaths and many newborn deaths occur in hospitals, the collaborative was designed to develop best practices for standardizing care for obstetrical and newborn complications, especially in large public hospitals where most births are routinely attended by medical interns. The MOH selected six provincial hospitals to participate in this new collaborative focused on complications management: Ambato in Tungurahua Province, Riobamba in Chimborazo Province, Latacunga in Cotopaxi Province, Teófilo Dávila and Maternidad de Santa Rosa in El Oro Province, and Esmeraldas in Esmeraldas Province. These hospitals accounted for over 17,000 deliveries in 2005.

El Comercio reported that at the Teófilo Dávila hospital, newborn deaths had declined from 49 per 1000 obstetric admissions in 2003, to 18.75 in 2006, and to 4 in 2007. At a launch of a new neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital, a Ministry of Health official highlighted the dramatic decline with a hospital official attributing it to the implementation of quality improvement methods, the article noted.  (Link to the article at http://www.elcomercio.com/solo_texto_search.asp?id_noticia=90837&anio=2007&mes=9&dia=26)

For more information on QAP’s work in Ecuador, please contact Dr. Jorge Hermida at jhermida@urc-chs.com.



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The Quality Assurance Project (QAP) is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) under Contract Number GPH-C-00-02-00004-00.