Mentoring for Excellence: Strengthening Hospitals to Reduce Maternal and Newborn Deaths in Indonesia

Published on May 28, 2024

By Ester Lucia Hutabarat, Senior Communications Specialist, and Eriska Haning, Belu District Coordinator, MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership Indonesia

Ivonne Sonya Usifa is a dedicated midwife at the Gabriel Manek General Public Hospital in Belu District, East Nusa Tenggara, in Indonesia. She oversees the delivery room where she and her team handle between five to eight births each day.

Midwife Ivonne conducts a drill with her team. Photo Credit: Ika Haning/Jhpiego

One day, the delivery room received an urgent referral from a nearby community health center, or Puskesmas, involving a pregnant woman who was in critical condition because her unborn baby was too big to pass through the birth canal To their shock, the woman was in advanced labor, with the baby’s head already visible.

Ivonne and her team acted swiftly. Thanks to the skills they had honed through regular drills for maternal and newborn emergency cases, they were prepared to assist the woman to give birth to a healthy baby. Ivonne attributed their success to the hospital mentoring provided by MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership in partnership with the WZ Johannes Hospital in Kupang, the capital of East Nusa Tenggara Province.

Hospital mentoring plays a crucial role in Indonesia’s efforts to reduce maternal and infant deaths.

“Hospitals with Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) capacity are obligated to provide clinical and management mentoring and referral networks to non-CEmONC hospitals and Puskesmas in their areas,” said Dr. Taolin Agustinues, the Head of Belu District.  “This mentoring is temporary. Through MOMENTUM, the district government can strengthen collaboration and build good relationships, starting from the district governments, cross-program and cross-sector cooperation, and other development partners.”

The mentoring activities at Gabriel Manek General Hospital received enthusiastic support from the Belu district government. Before hospital mentoring started, the clinical performance standard at Gabriel Manek Hospital was only 22%–compared to the national target of 80% for quality of services– which includes elements like skilled human resources, standard operational procedures, and provision of drugs, tools, and equipment. After six months of mentoring, the hospital’s performance level increased above that target to 92%.

Dr. Taolin Augustinus, Head of Belu District. Photo Credit: Ester L. Hutabarat/Jhpiego

Previously, the hospital rarely conducted emergency drills for maternal and neonatal cases. Now hospital staff practice these cases weekly, boosting their confidence and response during emergencies. The mentoring program’s positive impact is evident in the enhanced skills of staff and improvements in the healthcare system, including the adoption of clinical service standards and efficient documentation systems.

The Belu Regency Government’s positive response is seen in its continued commitment to act on MOMENTUM’s recommendations. For example, health officials are providing continued facilitative supervision to hospitals, conducting Maternal Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response audits, acquiring critical medical equipment, and arranging free medical treatment for residents.

MOMENTUM started its assistance to Belu District in September 2021, and is continuing its support by facilitating the evaluation and monitoring of digital applications. The collaboration between the district government and MOMENTUM, and the government’s commitment to implementing its recommendations, has led to a significant reduction in maternal and neonatal mortality. In 2022, there were six maternal and 48 newborn mortality cases in the district, which decreased to four maternal and 28 newborn mortality cases by August 2023, according to data from the Belu District Health Office.

“As the head of the delivery room, I’m very grateful for the mentoring provided by MOMENTUM,” said Ivonne. “I encourage my team to ensure the quality of maternal and newborn health services remains high, with the ultimate goal of preventing any maternal and infant deaths in our facility.”

Staff at Gabriel Manek Hospital practice filling out the newborn resuscitation checklist. Photo Credit: Ika Haning/Jhpiego

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