Embrace is thrilled to annouce our expansion in the Indian state of Karnataka. Embrace's first two sites in this region, SM Halli and PN Halli, started in May 2012. They have proven a great success, with Embrace helping nearly 400 infants in these two health care facilities to date. The planned expansion will see Embrace rolled out to an additional eleven health care centers in the region. The eleven health care centers were idenfied and selected due to their higher volumes of births and higher instances of low birth weight and prematurity among neonates. With an expansion to this scale, we plan to impact over 1000 low birth weight and premature infants in Karnataka during 2014.
The expansion is extra meaningful since Embrace's India roots are firmly planted in Bangalore, the capitol of Karnataka. Embrace first started in Bangalore in 2009 and has since expanded to three other states with the Embrace India team still headquartered in the city. We hope to continue expanding in Karnataka and the rest of India.
Many thanks to all of our supporters! We would not be able to impact as many infants and families as we do, without your continued support.
Dear Embrace supporters,
Thank you for your continued support of our India programs. Since the beginning of 2013 we have expanded to 7 new clinics in northern India. To ensure the continued success of our programs, we have hired 2 new Site Managers and 2 Site Educators who conduct ongoing training, oversee monitoring and evaluation efforts, and provide education on neonatal care to staff and families.
The Raebareli project in Uttar Pradesh has seen the most growth in 2013. New Site Manager, Yasin, is doing a fantastic job overseeing the use of Embrace at our numerous partner clinics in the area and developing new partner relations for further expansion. Yasin is originally from the IT field with a degree in Engineering. Before joining Embrace, he worked with Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna (RGMVP) on a health project for UNICEF.
Joining Yasin at the Raebareli project are 2 new Site Educators: Sundari and Firoz. Pervious to her work with Embrace, Sundari worked with RGMVP as a block organization manager to help coordinate local women's self-help groups. Firoz also has 2 years of experience working with self-help groups for RGMVP and has 1 year experience working on a Community Based Health Insurance project under UNICEF.
Priyanka G. has joined Embrace as the Karuna Trust Site Manager and will focus on expanding Embrace's presence in additional clinics throughout the region. She is based at a clinic in Santhemaranahalli, Karnataka, India. Priyanka G has a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Krishnateja Pharmacy College, and a Postgraduate diploma in Clinical Research from Syncorps Institute, Bangalore.
Embrace is so grateful to have these new Site Managers and Site Educators on the team. Without their hard work, we would not be able to have such a significant impact on the ground; and without your support, we would not be able to bring these projects to life. Thank you again for helping us make progress towards our ultimate goal: ensuring that every woman and child has an equal chance for a healthy life.
The Embrace Team
Raebareli District in Uttar Pradesh, India has an estimated infant mortality rate of 61 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is much higher than the national average of 47 deaths per 1,000 live births, and the state of Uttar Pradesh as a whole accounts for close to a quarter of all infant deaths in the country. Reports show that around 64% of these deaths are in neonates up to four weeks of age, indicating a need for increased neonatal health intervention immediately following childbirth.
Our Director of Programs, Jenafir House, along with our India Program Director, Pompa Debroy, and India Program Coordinator, Priyanka Choubey, visited several clinical facilities throughout the Raebareli District in early March. After an initial needs assessment, the Embrace team found a clear need for improved services around hypothermia management in the region due to a lack of human resources, adequate equipment, and current knowledge. Embrace is currently working with the Raebareli District Government to introduce our innovative infant warmer and complementary education program into five Primary Health Centers in the area. This program will allow us to reach at least 1250 infants and families in need within the first year, and the potential to impact even more lives as we work to establish a sustainable program.
Thank you for helping us Spread the Warmth to a new region in India!
BSSK is a non-profit organization that provides welfare services to families and children in need, irrespective of caste, creed, community or religion. They are based in Pune, India. Their small neonatal nursery typically treats up to 10 babies at any given time, and while they have some radiant warmers to care for their premature and low birth weight babies, they do not have enough to accomodate all the babies. Embrace is excited to be partnering with BSSK, as we strive to provide all babies with an equal chance for a healthy life. BSSK is using the Embrace infant warmer to provide thermal care to babies that need thermal stabilization and support.
Baby Girija was hypothermic when she was first brought to BSSK. She was kept in the Embrace warmer until she was able to regulate her body temperature. She is now feeding regularly and is putting on weight. Thanks to Embrace and the dedicated care she is receiving through BSSK, baby Girija is thriving!
Thank you so much for helping us to Spread the Warmth!
As any public health expert knows, change sometimes comes slowly, especially when it means changing our habitual way of doing things. From getting people to buckle their seatbelts every time they get into a car – to convincing us to exercise and cut back on high-cholesterol foods, we humans can be stubborn and do not easily change our ways, even when we know it is good for us and those we love.
On a recent trip to a partner Hospital in Gujarat India, I was able to see first hand the impact of a shift in the habitual working patterns of hospital staff to include use of the Embrace warmer. The hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is often overcrowded with low birth weight babies needing special attention, and has a lack of adequate equipment to provide warmth to these smallest patients. Nurses and staff had become used to placing 2-3 babies on one radiant warmer at a time, risking cross-contamination of illnesses. Other babies would be simply wrapped in blankets and placed in non-functioning incubators, risking hypothermia.
When our Embrace Fellow introduced the Embrace warmer, therefore, nurses and doctors were delighted. As an easy-to-use, safe and simple warming device that took up very little space, they saw it as a breakthrough in their ability to serve the low birth weight babies in their NICU and maternity wards. Knowing that some mothers could now have their babies at their bedside in the maternity ward, as a means of better connecting and bonding with them was also seen as a great advantage over traditional warming devices. The opportunity to train mothers in the maternity ward in Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), or skin-to-skin contact for warmth through the Embrace training program was also welcomed and encouraged.
But in the weeks that followed the introduction of the Embrace program at the NICU, amidst the highly charged, pressured activity of a ward where staff is often stretched thin, we found that the Embrace Warmers were not always being used, despite an obvious need. Again, staff overwhelmed with responsibilities and activities were quickly and habitually placing low birth weight babies in overcrowded radiant warmers, or simply wrapping them in blankets. They were not yet used to reaching for a safer, more effective Embrace option that would have significant impact on the lives of the babies they were caring for.
The solution? Build the staffs’ reflex to ‘reach for Embrace’ when the baby was not being supported by KMC in the maternity wards with their mothers. For a few weeks, our Embrace Fellow, Poornima, followed up regularly with the NICU staff, encouraging them and guiding them to use the Embrace Warmer in the NICU. Slowly, the nurses and midwives’ habit of placing babies in blankets or doubling them in other devices began to change. With the help of hospital administrators and a close staff ally, Poornima set up an ‘Embrace Station’ in the NICU, acting as a visual reminder of the important role of Embrace at the hospital- and as a central place for a staff member to quickly and easily access an Embrace warmer when needed. Each week throughout the ward, more babies could be seen wrapped carefully in the little blue sleeping bags of Embrace, sometimes two or three in a row, sleeping peacefully and in perfect warmth, again reminding staff of the new medical device option now available to transform the lives of the infants in their care.
Embrace now had a regular presence in the hospital, and the staff’s reflex to reach for Embrace as a means of supporting low birth weight babies in the Intensive Care Unit had been established. By August, staff were not only using Embrace as a habit—but were asking Poornima if it would be possible to access additional Embrace warmers to keep more babies warm during the approaching winter months. Embrace will soon deliver a new shipment of warmers to this hospital, increasing its ability to keep low birth weight babies warm during the critical first few weeks of life. Change might come slowly, but at our partner hospitals, small changes in the reflex to reach for Embrace have significant impact on offering babies a better chance at new life.
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