Breathing program may help save newborns' lives: studies
So-called birth asphyxia - when babies are born not breathing - is one of the major causes of newborn death in regions with limited resources, said researchers whose work appeared in Pediatrics.
Reducing infant mortality in the developing world is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals - but progress has been slow, according to Jeffrey Perlman from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, who helped implement the Helping Babies Breathe program in Tanzania.
The program, launched by the American Academy of Pediatrics, trains birth attendants to immediately dry and warm babies, and to start breathing for babies with a bag and mask if they don't breathe on their own within one minute.
"The majority of deliveries in resource-limited areas are done by the midwife, and the midwife wasn't really taught how to deal with a baby once they were born," Perlman told Reuters Health. Instead, he said, midwives tend to focus on the mother immediately after the birth.
"If you can just teach them, when the baby's born, to immediately dry the baby off... that drying and a little bit of stimulating will probably get 90 to 93 percent of babies breathing who weren't breathing before," added Perlman, who wrote a report that appeared in Pediatrics.
"That's the most exciting part, that something very simple can save many, many
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