Implementation of a Bubble CPAP Treatment Program for Sick Newborns in Nakuru, Kenya: A Quality Improvement Initiative

Nora Switchenko, Elizabeth Kibaru, Pamela Tsimbiri, Peter Grubb, Ann Anderson Berry, Bernhard Fassl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction. Respiratory distress (RD) contributes to common causes of neonatal mortality. Bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) is a safe, low-cost therapy for RD; however, adoption of bCPAP programs remains challenging. Aim. To increase the percentage of neonates with RD treated with bCPAP from 2% to 25% by January 2019. Methods. In the newborn unit (NBU) at the Nakuru County and Referral Hospital in Kenya, a pre-initiative (pre) period (March 2016 to December 2017) and a post-initiative (post) period (January 2018 to December 2018) were defined. Tests of change included organization of infrastructure, staff trainings, development of a nurse educator role, and treatment protocols. Clinical and outcome data were abstracted from all available medical records. Results. A total of 405 infants were included in the pre group, with 2% bCPAP use. A total of 1157 infants were included in the post group, with 100 (17.6%) treated with bCPAP. bCPAP use increased during the post period. Rates of RD (49.9% pre, 49.0% post, P =.64) and mortality (30.9% pre, 29.1% post, P =.35) were similar. Neonates treated with bCPAP had lower mean birth weight and a higher risk of death (relative risk = 1.41, 95% confidence interval = 1.21-1.65) compared with those not treated with bCPAP. Conclusion. It was possible to build capacity for the use of bCPAP to treat neonates in this low-resource setting. Gaps in the delivery bCPAP remain, and the current capacity in the PGH NBU allows for application of bCPAP to smaller, likely, sicker neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGlobal Pediatric Health
StatePublished - 2020


  • Kenya
  • bubble CPAP
  • global health
  • implementation
  • low-resource setting
  • neonate
  • quality improvement
  • respiratory distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pediatrics


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