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COINN launches the Community of Neonatal Nursing Practice (CoNP) Zambia & Kenya

Neonatal nursing in Africa recently received a massive infusion of hope, motivation and direction. In February 2024, the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN), an organisation that represents nurses who specialise in the care of newborn infants and their families, successfully launched two regional Community of Neonatal Nursing Practices (CoNP) based in Africa.  The COINN Community of Neonatal Nursing Practice (CoNP) is a global working group of neonatal education and practice specialists who advocate for improved quality of care for small and sick newborns and their families. The CoNP is a place to share resources, best practices, and identify gaps/challenges in neonatal nursing practice and education/training.  The CoNP includes nurses working with small and sick newborns and their families, as well as educators and policymakers.

The highly attended CoNP events hosted in Nairobi, Kenya and Lusaka, Zambia were sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and provided a forum where neonatal nurses shared their experiences in improving the quality of neonatal care, networked with each other, and engaged with policymakers involved in neonatal care, neonatal education, and practice.

The COINN CoNP Launch in Kenya

Kenya, like other countries in the region, needs to reduce the current neonatal mortality by half to reach the SDG target of below 12/1000 live births. The launch of the COINN CoNP in Kenya has provided a much-needed forum to help achieve this target by empowering nurses working in newborn units with the knowledge and skills they require while providing opportunities for the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and challenges across Kenya, Africa, and the globe.

In Kenya, the exciting launch brought together over 200 neonatal nurses, neonatologists and educators working in 25/47 counties in Kenya as well as policymakers and regulators like the Nursing Council of Kenya (NCK). The COINN international team including Ghana COINN mentors were also present. Participants shared experiences and learnings from quality improvement stories in Kangaroo Mother Care, use of bubble CPAP, management of jaundice using LED phototherapy lights among others. Discussions were held on the human resource shortage crisis and linkage of newborn care with maternal health

The event also launched the Society of Neonatal Nurses in Kenya (SoNN Kenya), an in-country CoNP that will spearhead and advocate for neonatal nursing education, participate in neonatal care policy and promote excellent and innovative family-centered care while respecting cultural diversity in Kenya. We feel very honoured to be part of this movement that has led to the birthing of African Neonatal Nurse Society forum that brings together neonatal nursing experts across Africa. (Written by Patrick Too: Chairperson Society of Neonatal Nurses Kenya)

Launch of the Kenya CoNP in Nairobi.

The COINN CoNP Launch in Zambia

Neonatal morbidity and mortality has remained a major health concern for Zambia. By offering comprehensive care to the neonates, neonatal nurses are key stakeholders in reducing the neonatal mortality. With the launch of COINN CoNP in Zambia and Africa as a whole, the platform will help and enable nurses to provide evidence based neonatal care regardless of the location. The launch in Zambia has brought about recognition of Neonatal Nursing as a specialty, provided an opportunity for us to meet and share experiences with other nurses across Zambia and Africa and has led to the birthing of the Neonatal Nurses Association of Zambia. As an association, we are so grateful. 

Zambia is still experiencing challenges with Neonatal Nurse Educators. Therefore, the CoNP will provide support and guidance to strengthen the knowledge and competencies of Neonatal Nurse educators.  It was an exciting event for the Ministry of Health and the neonatal nurses. The event was so overwhelmingly exciting as it also provided the opportunity to launch the Neonatal resuscitation handbook for Zambia and the algorithm. The launch led to collaborations which I believe will yield numerous benefits for neonatal care in Zambia. (Written by Samantha Mufungwe: Chairperson, Neonatal Nurses Association of Zambia)

Lusaka, Zambia Launch

The birth of the African Neonatal Nurses Society

The in-country launches were so exciting because nurses and nurse supports came from across Africa to learn from each other, to make the case to MoHs for providing more resources to neonatal nurses and the care of the small and sick newborns.  Neonatal nurses provide the vital link to improving neonatal outcomes.  In 48 hours over 1000 nurses and their supporters from across Africa joined a Whatsapp group just to share their stories, seek advice, and talk about challenges and how to solve them!!  What a testament to the enthusiasm for changing care.  The CoNP is changing the neonatal nursing landscape-not only for Africa but the world!  Prof Carole Kenner, CEO COINN.

The launch of the COINN CoNP in both Nairobi and Lusaka were wonderful events that brought together passionate nurses and other health care workers caring for the small and sick newborn in Africa. Their energy and passion fill me with confidence that the outcomes for neonates in Africa will continue to improve, as we all advocate locally, nationally and internationally for a strong health care work force, that have the skills, knowledge and resources to provide quality care. Together we are strong.  Prof Karen Walker, President COINN.

The COINN CoNP is a great opportunity. It is the first step in coming together to identify our priority problems and generate the necessary evidence to change policy and practice while learning and sharing along the journey. (Written by: David Gathara, Assistant Professor at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Nursing Workforce Researcher)

COINN Annual Conference, Aalborg, Denmark May 2024

The launch of these community of practice events is leading up to COINN's annual conference held in Aalborg, Denmark between May 6-8th this year. The theme of the conference is “Supporting Closeness – Building Relations”, with a diverse range of speakers, including:

  • Joy Lawn, Professor of Maternal, Reproductive, and Child Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine;

  • Marsha Campbell, Neonatal nurse practitioner, clinician-scientist and professor;

  • Alex Mancini-Smith, senior neonatal nurse and is the National Lead Nurse for Neonatal Palliative Care, leading the National Neonatal Palliative Care Project in the UK;

  • Lívia Nagy Bonnard, Co-founder, vice-president of Right(s) beside you - Hungarian patient organisation, EUPATI Fellow, EFCNIPPPAB of European Standard of Care for Newborn Health, NIDCAP Member of Family Advisory Council, FINE (Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Education);

  • Renée Flacking, Director of Doctoral Programme in Care Sciences, Director for the research centre Reproductive, Infant and Child Health, Visiting Professor, Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit (MAINN), UCLan, UK;

  • Ragnhild Måstrup, Ph.d., IBCLC, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Researcher, Videnscenter for amning af børn med specielle behov;

  • Howard Catton, CEO, International Council of Nurses. He is committed to ensure that ICN effectively represents nursing worldwide, advances the nursing profession, promotes the well-being of nurses and advocates for health in all policies;

  • Professor Karen Walker, President COINN. Karen is a Clinical Associate Professor with the University of Sydney and is the Neonatal Clinical Nurse Consultant at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia;

  • Professor Carole Kenner, CEO COINN, Carole has over 35 years’ neonatal/perinatal/pediatric experience. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and Indiana University (USA) with degrees in neonatal/perinatal nursing and nursing; and

  • Mats Eriksson, RN, PHD, Professor - University Ørebro, Sweden.

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1 Comment

This is lovely. Keep up the good work!

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