Recognizing champions in high burden, low-resource settings’

Globally, there are 2.7 million newborn deaths each year. Three quarters of these deaths are in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. The Sustainable Development Goals towards 2030 include a target for ending preventable newborn. Achieving this target will require universal and quality health care for sick and small newborns and could save over 500,000 lives each year. The Every Newborn Action Plan calls for strengthening the health care workforce particularly midwives and nurses with skills of care for small and sick newborns.  

Nurses provide the majority of care to sick newborns in health facilities, yet very few nurses and midwives have the opportunity to specialize in newborn care especially in the highest burden settings. Staffing neonatal units with skilled and dedicated nurses is extremely difficult due to an acute shortage of neonatal nurses. Within low-resource countries, there is a desperate need for champions to promote:

  • the role neonatal nursing plays in preventing newborn deaths
  • the need to define national qualifications for neonatal nursing advanced practice

The Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN) and Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives program are seeking to recognize and encourage excellence in neonatal nursing by presenting the thirdInternational Neonatal Nursing Excellence Awards to two nurses working in newborn care in a low- or middle-income country where the burden is highest. This award recognizes the commitment of nurses working on the frontlines of newborn care in resource-challenged countries, where the majority of newborn deaths occur. Learn more about the previous winners here.

Winners will receive their recognition at the 9th Council of International Neonatal Nurses Conference (COINN 2016) in Vancouver Canada August 14–17, 2016 (



Closing date (extended): 15 April 2016  

Purpose: To recognise and encourage excellence in neonatal nursing in low-resource settings.  

Value of the award: The award will cover return economy airfares to the conference destination, conference registration fees, accommodation and food, and cost of visa’s/passport, if required.

Conditions of the award

  • Nominations will only be accepted from nurses living and working in one of following 28 countries, aligned with the Every Newborn focus countries – FULL LIST
  • Have support of his or her workplace and able to obtain leave to attend the conference.
  • The recipient/s will be expected to share their experience through a set of blog pieces for the Healthy Newborn Network and partner websites;
  • The recipient/s is responsible for ensuring they have a valid passport, visa’s (if required) and any additional documentation that may be required for them at attend the country in which the conference is being held;
  • Attend, and or participate in the conference program including workshops and poster sessions;
  • Attend meetings with conference attendees as per arrangement with the Save the Children/COINN liaison person/s;
  • All monies will be paid directly to the conference secretariat and/or travel agent.
  • As the official language of the conference is English, recipient/s must be able to converse in English.

Application process

Closing Date: 23:59 hours on Thursday 31 March 2016 USA Eastern Standard Time

Hand written applications will not be accepted. Applications must be submitted online HERE or download the form HERE  and email to Healthy Newborn Network at

Applicants will be notified of the outcome by 15 April 2016.  

Application requirements

  1. Cover letter stating response to the selection criteria
  2. Completed applicant’s details
  3. A letter of support/approval by both your immediate manager/supervisor (e.g. Nurse Unit Manager) and your Director of Nursing/Chief Nursing Officer. This letter should indicate that the conference is relevant to your practice area and that they approve your attendance at the conference.

  Selection criteria

  1. Currently working to provide care for sick or small newborns in the public or not for profit services in one of the 28 Every Newborn focus countries FULL LIST
  2. Drives improved neonatal outcomes in their workplace, teamwork and promotion of newborn care. Provide an example if possible of “excellence against all odds”
  3. Acts as a role model and mentor to others working with newborns, and makes a difference to the working lives of others.
  4. Actively contributes to continuous improvement initiatives (practice, research and/or education) in an area of nursing newborn infants.

  Expectations of winners

  • Be willing to share your story through communications channels e.g. photos, video, blogs
  • Work with the Save the Children country office to identify ways to collaborate as a champion for newborn health
  • Give a presentation on your experience at the COINN conference to the national professional associations for nursing and/or midwifery
  • Submit a report on the conference and experience generally to the COINN board within 6 months of the visit