News / Health

Emergency Birth Training Curbs Infant Mortality

Helping newborns breathe in first moments of life is critical to survival

Simple techniques, which initiate breathing in the newborn during the first minute of life, can reduce the newborn mortality rate by 50 percent.
Simple techniques, which initiate breathing in the newborn during the first minute of life, can reduce the newborn mortality rate by 50 percent.

Multimedia

Audio
Jessica Berman

Responding immediately when newborns fail to breathe in the critical moments after birth could dramatically cut the number of infant deaths worldwide. That’s the focus of a new training program for maternal healthcare workers.

An estimated one million newborns die each year of birth asphyxia, the failure to start or sustain breathing in the first moments after delivery.

To bring those numbers down, medical educators at the American Academy of Pediatrics designed a training program they call Helping Babies Breathe. Developed with input from the World Health Organization, the curriculum teaches healthcare workers simple techniques for initiating breathing in the newborn. These include rubbing the baby dry, keeping the baby warm and suctioning the baby’s mouth within the first minute of life.

If the newborn still does not begin breathing on their own, birth attendants are taught how to place a face mask on the baby’s face to initiate respiration.

Jeffrey Perlman, professor of pediatrics at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York, says the protocol, carried out during the first minute of life, can reduce the newborn mortality rate by 50 percent.

Perlman says it also reduces the number of deaths from stillbirth, which is often simply a case of birth asphyxia.

"When a baby is born not breathing, it is often assumed that that is a stillbirth but that may not be the case," he says. "It may just be that the baby’s not breathing but has a low heart rate. And we know that if you can effectively breathe for the baby, and it doesn’t take too many assisted breaths, they will start breathing on their own."

Researchers conducting a 2009 pilot project with Helping Babies Breathe in Tanzania taught nurse-midwives, doctors and other medical personnel what immediate steps they should take if a baby is born not breathing, including how to use bulb suction and bag-mask ventilation devices.

Data collected at four hospitals, for three months before and three months after initiation of the program, showed the death rate dropped from 13 deaths per 1,000 births to just over six deaths per 1,000 deliveries.

Perlman is excited by the results. "If we can sustain that reduction, it will represent for the first time a reversal of asphyxia-related birth mortality."

Perlman says the simple strategies to initiate breathing during the first minute of delivery - which he calls "the golden minute" - could go a long way toward helping developing countries meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development goal of slashing infant mortality by two-thirds by 2015.

"It’s beautiful to actually see the nurse midwives and others taking possession and understanding why it’s so important to initiate the breathing within the Golden Minute. They’ve seen tangible results."

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid