Helping Babies BreatheUsing infant resuscitation to save newborn lives
A simple training program that’s making a profound difference in Sierra Leone, empowering local health workers to save newborn lives.
Sierra Leone ranks as the worst country in the world for under-5 mortality: 182 out of every 1,000 children in Sierra Leone — almost one in five — die before their fifth birthday. Nearly 30% of child deaths occur on the first day of life, resulting in 11,200 newborn deaths each year. The leading cause of newborn death is birth asphyxia/trauma, largely a result of a lack of skilled birth attendants at delivery.
The Helping Babies Breathe curriculum was designed to give birth attendants in developing countries essential skills in newborn resuscitation. World Hope International, (WHI) in a partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Prize Foundation, is training and equipping Sierra Leonean health workers in HBB, with the ultimate goal of reducing neonatal mortality in hard-to-reach areas. The key concept of HBB is the “Golden Minute,” which says that within the first minute of life, babies should be ventilated with a bag and mask if they are not breathing well on their own. The HBB training materials are pictorial-based and designed for even the most uneducated birth attendants, including those who are illiterate, to perform basic neonatal resuscitation.
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