How One Simple Option Has Actually Conserved Countless Infants


Jharana Kumari Tharu, a neighborhood health volunteer in Nepal, goes to the house of Syani Tharu, who is 8 months pregnant, to counsel her on how an easy tube of chlorhexidine antibacterial gel, used to her infant’s cut umbilical cable stump, might assist avoid infection as well as death./ Thomas Cristofoletti for USAID.

Every year, an approximated 2.6 million infants pass away within their very first month of life. About 15 percent of these deaths are brought on by issues from serious infection– which, for the most parts, can be prevented with basic, cost-efficient interventions.

Considering That 2002, USAID and its partners have actually been working to scale up making use of one life-saving intervention in specific– chlorhexidine, an antibacterial. Chlorhexidine, which comes as either a gel or a liquid, is safe and basic to utilize, simple to make, and budget friendly.

Chlorhexidine is frequently utilized by medical facilities to decontaminate skin prior to surgical treatment and to decontaminate surgical instruments. In low-resource nations, it can likewise be utilized to secure the umbilical stumps of babies to avoid lethal issues from infection.

Some neighborhoods see these kinds of serious infections frequently due to conventional house birth practices, such as cutting umbilical cables with unclean family tools and after that dealing with the stump with turmeric and even cow dung, and other unhygienic birth conditions. By contrast, in high-resource nations serious infections take place in less than 1 percent of babies.

Research studies revealed that one-time chlorhexidine treatment can reduce the threat of serious infection by 68 percent and crib death by 23 percent. Impressed by these outcomes, the Federal government of Nepal piloted a USAID-supported chlorhexidine program in2009 2 years later on, chlorhexidine was incorporated into regular care across the country with assistance from Conserving Lives at Birth: a Grand Difficulty for Advancement, likewise co-funded by USAID.

The scale-up program in Nepal is approximated to have actually conserved over 9,600 baby lives considering that its creation. In less than 10 years, chlorhexidine remarkably attained nationwide protection.

Today, more than 1.3 million babies throughout the nation have actually taken advantage of this basic treatment.

The Federal government of Nepal has actually contributed in scaling up chlorhexidine. From incorporating it into bundles that promote maternal and kid health, to obtaining chlorhexidine tubes and training health care employees, the federal government has actually been a strong supporter for usage of the antibacterial.

The intro of chlorhexidine in Nepal was more assisted by the Chlorhexidine Working Group, a group of agents from numerous regional and worldwide companies. Hosted by USAID’s partner COURSE, this group was officially developed in 2012 to assist accelerate the scale-up development.

Generally, years pass in the past international health developments remove in low-and-middle-income nations, inning accordance with an analysis by the Costs & Melinda Gates Structure, Dalberg Global Advancement Advisors and the Boston Consulting Group. The speed of the chlorhexidine scale-up in Nepal compares positively to health development launches in the United States and other industrialized nations, which normally take about 5 years.

So, the concern then ends up being, how can simple wins from the effective scale-up of a life-saving, low-priced intervention in Nepal be rollovered to more nations and throughout other interventions?

Inning accordance with a current report, some aspects that added to the quick scale up of chlorhexidine in Nepal and beyond consisted of the capability to produce it in your area, comprehensive marketing research, policy and advocacy work, and partnership in between federal government and the economic sector.

From the beginning of the program in Nepal, the Chlorhexidine Navi Care Program, executed by John Snow Inc. (JSI), was developed to work as a “living university” for chlorhexidine scale-up. JSI, USAID and the Federal government of Nepal thoroughly recorded exactly what was working– and simply as significantly, exactly what was not working– to share indispensable lessons.

These companies partnered together to host knowing check outs for authorities from nations thinking about presenting and scaling chlorhexidine. All program-related products were likewise made openly readily available for other nations’ usage.

The effect of Nepal’s success reached beyond its borders and led the way for nations such as Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo to start their own journeys to utilize chlorhexidine to minimize high rates of newborn deaths.

Nigeria, a nation with the third-highest variety of newborn deaths worldwide, has actually made terrific strides– from beginning chlorhexidine pilot programs in 2013, to establishing and carrying out a nationwide scale-up method and application strategy by2016

As making use of chlorhexidine for avoiding newborn deaths continues to grow, the international health neighborhood need to keep checking out brand-new methods to present and scale up tested life-saving interventions.

The objective? To develop a much healthier world for generations to come.


Mateo Haddad, Global Health Communications Intern; Bethany Reyes, Data Science Intern.