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The Obstetric Safe Surgery (OSS) Project in Kenya is funded by Johnson & Johnson and to date has been implemented by Jhpiego as the lead organization, in collaboration with County and National Ministries of Health and professional associations. To support implementation moving forward, Proximie and Ariadne Labs have formed a unique partnership with Jhpiego to integrate Jhpiego’s best practices in safe obstetric surgery with Proximie’s state of the art technology platform to leverage multi-sensory augmented reality tools.

Proximie has teamed up with Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins University affiliate, on a safe surgery project in Kenya to layer in their unique software that allows physicians anywhere in the world to virtually ‘scrub-in’ and mentor colleagues in real time.

Proximie has offered its technology to Jhpiego, a global health non-profit working in 40-plus countries, to improve obstetric surgical care for women by expanding and enhancing the learning and mentorship in Jhpiego’s Obstetric Safe Surgery project now underway in five hospitals in Makueni County. The goal of the 22-month project is to support the government of Kenya’s commitment to reduce maternal and newborn deaths and obstetric-related injuries by improving the quality of caesarean sections. Seventy-one percent of facility-based maternal deaths in Kenya are associated with caesarean sections, and 9 out of 10 maternal deaths are linked to a lack of quality standardized care.

Funded by Johnson & Johnson, the Jhpiego-led project is grounded in a health-systems approach, leveraging local expertise to build networks of care to deliver safe and timely surgical obstetric care. The Proximie platform offers the prospect of enhanced and expanded learning by obstetric surgical teams.

Physicians and nurses in the Jhpiego-led Obstetric Safe Surgery (OSS) Project in Kenya prepare for a C-section at Makueni County Referral Hospital, one of five hospitals participating in the skills-strengthening and mentorship program aimed at reducing maternal and newborn deaths.

Supporting the design and evaluation of the enhanced OSS project is Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Doris Mbithi, Medical Superintendent of the Mother and Child Hospital in Makueni County and a partner on the OSS project, said the Jhpiego-Proximie alliance will help surgeons perfect their skills and address issues that arise.

“Sometimes things happen in the (operating) theatre and not all team members remember the process,” she said. “With the recordings, we can identify gaps and rectify. I am also happy that at night, I have the possibility to support remotely, either at my hospital or to help keep a potential referral at the sub county hospital by consulting remotely.”

Dr. John Varallo, Global Director Safe Surgery at Jhpiego, said the partnership can increase the impact realized thus far: “By offering real-time, remote surgical consultation, this project has the true potential of being a game-changer in improving the safety and quality of surgical care in Kenya, and in other countries where Jhpiego works.

“Collaborating with innovative thought leaders at Proximie and Ariadne Labs, and continuing to work in close partnership with the government of Kenya and the surgical teams on the ground, our true champions of the Obstetric Safe Surgery work, we have the opportunity to amplify the progress made in surgical safety and quality to date.”

“By offering real-time, remote surgical consultation, this project has the true potential of being a game-changer in improving the safety and quality of surgical care in Kenya, and in other countries where Jhpiego works.”

Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram, CEO of Proximie, said she founded Proximie “on the ethos that shared knowledge leads to accelerated learning and better patient care,” and the Obstetric Safe Surgery project embodies that.

“Our work with the local surgical teams on the ground in Kenya, and with Jhpiego, and Ariadne Labs, is going to help democratize access to important caesarean section surgical techniques and knowledge that would otherwise be siloed due to geography or time,” Hachach-Haram said. “Proximie is going to be harnessed pre, intra and postoperatively in order to ensure women and their babies have access to high-quality care, at a critical time. I have always believed that collaboration is the cornerstone of driving meaningful change in healthcare and the Obstetric Safe Surgery project will not just help to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, but hopefully provide a blueprint for others to follow.”

“…the Obstetric Safe Surgery project will not just help to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, but hopefully provide a blueprint for others to follow.”

Mentorship is a key aspect of the Jhpiego-led Obstetric Safe Surgery (OSS) Project in Kenya. Sultan-Hamud Hospital is among the five health facilities participating in the project, that provides skills strengthening and sessions with expert mentors in an effort to reduce maternal and newborn deaths.

A leader in healthcare innovation and implementation, Ariadne Labs has experience in designing and building in-country capacity and expertise to implement digital innovations which will be leveraged to inform critical discussions on sustainable digital health throughout Kenya, and beyond.

“We’re pleased to collaborate with Proximie and Jhpiego to leverage our experience in public health, frontline clinical care, and human-centered design to improve the quality of surgical care that women and their newborns receive as well as enhance the clinician experience,” said Katherine Semrau, PhD, MPH, Principal Investigator and Director of Ariadne Labs’ BetterBirth program. “Our aim at Ariadne Labs is to reduce suffering and save lives for people everywhere — whether in Boston, Nairobi, or Lucknow — by developing scalable, systems-level solutions. We look forward to supporting the measurement and evaluation of this work, to ultimately improve the interventions and their implementation.”


What Proximie’s Global Health Steering Committee are saying about this new initiative?

Dr Rifat Atun is Professor of Global Health Systems at Harvard University and the Faculty Chair for the Harvard Ministerial Leadership Program.

“Leveraging private public partnerships that combine new technology with innovations in delivery models is critical to address gaps in equitable access to safe, timely and affordable surgical care. The collaboration between Proximie, Jhpiego and Ariadne Labs is an example of how such partnerships can drive the sustainable uptake of new technologies, contributing to common learning agendas on models, lessons and trends for future innovation in surgical systems strengthening.”

Dr. Adrian Park, is Chairman of the Department of Surgery and of the Earl SAIL (Simulation to Advance Innovation and Learning) Center of Anne Arundel Health System in Annapolis, Maryland and Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

“Providing access to safe, timely and affordable surgery as part of Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC) ensures that no one is left behind. Sustainable progress in surgical care will require new innovations, particularly in resource constrained settings. The potential to scale-up and spread digital solutions like Proximie will be a game changer on the front lines of global surgical care.”

Dr. Ipshita Mandal-Johnson PhD, FP & CEO Global Bio Fund, and Principal Consultant BioPacific Partners.

“The Future of Health is globally connected, and there are no silos based on gender, ethnicity and political-economic divides. The current pandemic is a case in point, and we must future proof our health innovation approach NOW, or risk being laggards in both health outcomes and global market growth.”

Pradeep Kakkattil, UNAIDS Director of Innovation and co-founder of Health Innovation Exchange (HIEx).

“Thoughtfully designed innovations are key to the delivery of accessible, affordable and equitable healthcare towards 2030 goals. Proximie is an incredibly agile clinical tool especially in austere environments bringing powerful surgical connectivity to isolated areas.”