Breathing program may help save newborns' lives: studies
Perlman and his colleagues compared about 8,000 babies born at eight hospitals before birth assistants were trained in the breathing program to almost ten times as many babies born afterward.
Program leaders initially taught the breathing techniques to 40 "master trainers" from the eight hospitals over two days. Some then went to other hospitals and health centers in the area to teach midwives and other health care providers.
The researchers found that newborn deaths dropped from 13 per 1,000 babies to seven per 1,000 once Helping Babies Breathe was implemented. The rate of stillbirth fell from 19 per 1,000 babies to just over 14, per 1,000.
In a second study from Southern India, though, another set of researchers saw no change in newborn deaths after the same program was taught to almost 600 birth attendants.
But stillbirth rates fell from 30 per 1,000 babies to 23 per 1,000, Shivaprasad Goudar from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Belgaum, Karnataka, and colleagues, found.
According to United Nations data, 32 babies die in India for every 1,000 live births, and 26 per 1,000 die in Tanzania.
The Helping Babies Breathe program is supported in part by the Laerdal Foundation for Acute Medicine. Laerdal Medical manufactures breathing simulators and other products related to the program's work. (Reporting by Elaine Lies)
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