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URC Trains Health Care Providers to Help Babies Breathe in Afghanistan

by Annie Clark, CNM, MPH, and Niambi Wilder*
February 3, 2012

Hospital personnel participate in a training-of-trainers session at the International Club in Afghanistan. Photo credit: Annie Clark.
Hospital personnel participate in a training-of-trainers session at the International Club in Afghanistan. Photo credit: Annie Clark.

Ms. Annie Clark, URC’s Senior Quality Improvement Advisor for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH), recently visited Afghanistan to conduct a training-of-trainers session with targeted hospital personnel. The training focused on essential newborn care, active management of the third stage of labor, and newborn resuscitation using the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) methodology.

Birth asphyxia, a leading cause of newborn death, is the baby’s inability to breathe immediately after delivery, making the first minute of life the riskiest time for newborns. HBB, a global initiative to train skilled health care providers in newborn resuscitation, is working to overcome this challenge by teaching The Golden MinuteSM concept, which asserts that “within one minute of birth, a baby should be breathing well or should be ventilated with a bag and mask.”

In the video below, Dr. Arya Waziry of Balkh province demonstrates newborn resuscitation. Watch as she adjusts the baby’s (mannequin’s) head and chest position, clears the baby’s airway with a suction device, and uses a ventilation bag-mask to help the baby breathe.

Afghanistan is among the top 15 countries with more than 39 newborn deaths for every 1000 live births, according to a 2011 study published in the journal PLoS Medicine. With funding from USAID/Afghanistan, the USAID Health Care Improvement Project is supporting Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health to advance the quality of obstetric care and outcomes for pregnant women and newborns through collaborative improvements.

*Niambi Wilder is URC's Communications Coordinator.



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