The community-based delivery of an innovative neonatal kit to save newborn lives in rural Pakistan: Design of a cluster randomized trial

Ali Turab, Lisa G. Pell, Diego G. Bassani, Sajid Soofi, Shabina Ariff, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Shaun K. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Worldwide, an estimated 2.9 million neonatal deaths occurred in 2012, accounting for 44% of all under-five deaths. In Pakistan, more than 200,000 newborns die annually and neonatal mortality rates are higher than in any other South Asian country and haven't changed over the last three decades. The high number of neonatal deaths highlights the urgent need for effective and sustainable interventions that target newborn mortality in Pakistan.Method/Design: This cluster randomized trial aims at evaluating the impact of delivering an integrated neonatal kit to pregnant women during the third trimester of pregnancy and providing education on how to use the contents (intervention arm) compared to the current standard of care (control arm) in the district of Rahimyar Khan, Punjab province, Pakistan. The kit, which will be distributed through the national Lady Health Worker program, comprises a clean delivery kit (sterile blade, cord clamp, clean plastic sheet, surgical gloves and hand soap), sunflower oil emollient, chlorhexidine, ThermoSpot™, Mylar infant sleeve, and a reusable instant heat pack. Lady health workers will be provided with a standard portable hand-held electric weighing scale. The primary outcome measure is neonatal mortality (death in the first 28 days of life).Discussion: While many cost-effective, evidence-based interventions to save newborn lives exist, they are not always accessible nor have they been integrated into a portable kit designed for home-based implementation entirely by caregivers. The implementation of cost-effective, portable, and easy-to-use interventions has tremendous potential for sustainably reducing neonatal mortality and long-term improvements in population health. The bundling of interventions and commodities together also has much potential for cost-effective delivery and maximizing gains from points of contact. This study will provide empirical evidence on the feasibility and effectiveness of the delivery of an innovative neonatal kit to pregnant women in Pakistan. Together, these findings will help inform policy on the most appropriate interventions to improve newborn survival.Trial registration: NCT02130856. Registered May 1, 2014.

Original languageEnglish
Article number315
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2014


  • Lady health workers
  • Neonatal mortality
  • Pakistan


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