Cancel Preloader

A newborn clinical audit tool for hospitals in Kenya

A new clinical audit tool has been developed to measure and provide feedback on the quality of hospital care provided to sick and small newborns during the first 28 days of life. Clinical audits provide a clear and systematic framework for monitoring gaps in the care provided with the goal of improving quality of care in a systematic and collaborative way. The newborn audit tool provides a structured record form to ensure all vital information is recorded accurately hence allowing retrospective data analysis.

For many years, clinical audits for maternal and perinatal care have been implemented in Kenya through the Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR). Information from this audit has gone a long way in improving hospital care, service delivery, accountability and further development of relevant health policies. Although the MPDSR provides relevant information for maternal care, the perinatal aspects focus on stillbirths and the immediate care of the live newborn, leaving an information gap in the delivery of care to small and sick newborns.

Through clinical audits, medical practitioners can identify emerging trends and patterns of morbidity, mortality, modifiable factors and interventions to improve the quality of care and outcomes in hospitals and other health care facilities. Additionally, audits provide feedback for health workers to improve health care practises

Guided by the WHO guidelines, the newborn audit involves all key stakeholders while taking a collaborative approach. This audit focuses on a bottom-up approach starting at the hospital level.

Well-conducted clinical audits are not just a regulatory requirement by the Ministry of Health. Neither are they a report writing activity or an opportunity for apportioning blame among clinical colleagues. Clinical audits provide an opportunity for learning and continuous improvement. Systematic audits remove the person from the incident and focus on the gaps and ways of improvement.

The experience from other audits such as the MPDSR suggests that clinical audits are an effective means to improving care. However, the success of an audit is dependent on the implementation of recommendations. As of July 2021, all NEST sites had been trained on implementation of this audit. Currently, plans are underway to train the other remaining hospitals.

This article is based on an interview with Dr Muthoni Ogola from one of the hospitals in the CIN, who developed and piloted the tool to conduct clinical audits for care given in the NBUs as part of her PhD research.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *