Roumanie RoNEONAT: A project to improve Romanian neonatology

RoNEONAT: A project to improve Romanian neonatology (2000-2007)
A childhood mortality of 20‰ sadly placed Romania at the top of all European
countries with approximately 45% of it attributable to neonatal mortality. Supported by
a very young Romanian Neonatology Society, the Ministry of Health of the country
requested support from the Swiss Government through the Swiss Agency for
Development and Cooperation (SDC) to help reducing this gap, encouraged by the
plans to join the European Community.
On site visits of experts from the Neonatology Unit of the University Hospital Geneva
and numerous meetings with Romanian specialists and governmental bodies set the
base for the development of a support program aiming at regionalization of neonatal
care, training in neonatology for medical specialist and nurses, development of
quality guidelines and public awareness campaigns. The project was implemented by
an executive agency and locally coordinated through a newly created foundation.
In addition to a general support to the new Romanian neonatology, two regions were
chosen to deploy a collaborative neonatology project, one in Transylvania and the
other in Moldavia. The Romanian Ministry of Health demonstrated its profound
involvement by creating a specific ministerial board for neonatology and by
supporting the proposed regionalization, but also in updating neonatology
infrastructures (buildings, medical gazes and sanitary systems) throughout the two
pilot districts. In addition to strategic and training support, the Swiss project finally
also provided a considerable amount of equipment to improve and complete what
was available but very decrepit. During 2003/4, four specialized physicians and four
head nurses from level III hospitals of the two chosen regions spent three training
months at the University Hospital Geneva, in teams of two. During their training,
Romanian participants joined daily activities in the neonatology unit but, most
importantly, prepared under supervision an extensive teaching support. The aim was
the training of local trainers for clinical teaching at their return, supported by modern
teaching equipment consisting in PC, beamer and modern mannequins.
Based on the experience in the two pilot districts, the Romanian Ministry of Health is
in the process of scaling up this project on a national level, as part of the Health
Sector Reform Program financed by the World Bank.