Description of the project


The Romanian Swiss Neonatology project – RoNeonat - is a project of the Ministry of Public Health spanning the years 2002-2007 that is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Swiss Centre for International Health of the Swiss Tropical Institute was contracted to provide the technical collaboration and support for implementation. In order to provide continuous managerial services for RoNeonat, the Swiss Tropical Institute and local partners founded a Romanian NGO, the CRED Foundation “Centre for Health Sector Development”. CRED is based in Bucharest and coordinates the local implementation and provides technical assistance.
The main objectives of RoNeonat was to respond to the Ministry of Health’s concern to address the problems of low access to specialised high quality neonatal care, weak referral system and not qualified transport system for neonates, the negative image of neonatal wards reflected in newspapers articles, and the lack of parents’ knowledge and attitudinal factors leading to high risk pregnancies and increase need for neonatal intensive care.

Goal of RoNeonat and approach

The overall goal of RoNeonat is to reduce the neonatal mortality in Romania through the modernisation of the neonatology system.

To address the issues of the Romanian neonatology system in order to improve its outcomes, the approach chosen was a systemic one that includes different subcomponents of the project who are directly and indirectly linked to the provision and access to high quality of neonatal health. Thus, RoNeonat targets stakeholders such as medical staff and leadership, administration, professional associations, training institutions, technical maintenance workshops, as well as public health administration, Ministry of Public Health, health insurance house, university and medical school, etc. Additionally, the project addresses the final beneficiaries directly in order to promote healthy behaviours and improve timely access to high quality services, through annual health promotion campaigns. Furthermore, RoNeonat had to work within the context of the regionalisation of the health care structures, which regulates the level and specialisation of care available at each centre and the referral system.


This systemic approach led to a specification of project objectives to improve the quality of neonatal/perinatal care in Romania:


  • neonatology staff at levels I-III provides services in improved quality
  • health technology management at facility level is improved
  • establishment and dissemination of standards and protocols for the neonatology system are promoted
  • capacities of the neonatology system to follow-up neonates who have undergone intensive care are enhanced
  • behaviour change in the field of neonatology is supported and promoted through appropriate communication
  • advisory services support the implementation of the Romanian Health Sector Reform Program


The following pages describe in details the key interventions of RoNeonat and their outputs, as well as the evaluation and the lessons learnt from each of those interventions.