The Chlorhexidine Working Group (CWG), part of the United Nations Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children Newborn Technical Resource Team, and led by PATH, convened a meeting of 34 ministry of health officials, donors and implementing partners in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 15 and 16 to discuss program sustainability for chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care. The meeting included representatives from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, and Nigeria as well as USAID, WHO, UNICEF, MCSP/Save the Children, and JSI/L10K.
The first day consisted of a site visit to Dugda Woreda in East Shoa where participants interacted with district health office, health center, and health post staff who are delivering chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care as part of the community-based newborn care (CBNC) package. The group also visited families with newborns who received the chlorhexidine product. The second day consisted of a sustainability planning workshop. All objectives of the chlorhexidine sustainability workshop were met successfully as noted below:
- Recent evidence and country-level experience of introducing and scaling the chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care intervention was shared.
- Goals for the next 3-5 year period were identified by each country and next steps for sustainable programming of the intervention were planned.
- Tools and resources to assist in long-range planning were disseminated.
All workshop participants were invited to join the CWG, continuing to build the network of technical expertise in the implementation of chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care.