Giving Birth is a Miracle

Giving birth is a miracle. Each and every time a baby presents to the world and takes his or her first breath, it is a guarantee that life goes on. Parents and family members rejoice and make plans for their future with their newest member. But not every baby takes a breath. The World Health Organization (WHO), estimates 1 million newborns die every year from birth asphyxia, the inability to breathe at birth. Without intervention, the baby will die, becoming only a sad memory.
 
Approximately 10% of newborns will need help to breathe. I am working with Village Health Partnership to ensure all babies born in Ethiopia have the opportunity to live, to thrive, to be a beloved member of a family.
 
Ten years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics, in cooperation with the WHO, developed a program to train health care providers in low resource settings to assist babies in taking their first breath. This program. Helping Babies Survive, is now being taught and implemented in Ethiopia by VHP with our Ethiopian partners, including Mizan Tepi University (MTU) and the Mizan Tepi University Teaching Hospital (MTUTH) in the Bench Sheko Zone, West Omo Zone, and the Gofa Zone. 
 
As an International Master Trainer and Mentor serving with VHP, I met with the Department of Midwifery at MTU to discuss the training of six members of their department. The best of the best were chosen and I trained them. Together we then taught a class of 24 nurses and midwives from the surrounding communities. Then another class of 24. Over the next three years, these six new Master Trainers would go on to train many more health care providers from surrounding communities.
 
In addition, they taught others how to be Facilitators and Master Trainers, thereby developing a cascade of trainers and experienced nurses and midwives for the Zone. At this time, more than 400 healthcare providers have been trained and are practicing the resuscitation methods, as well as the Essential Care of Every Baby techniques that assure more babies live through the critical first month of life. Village Health Partnership continues to support the program and I continue to mentor the Master Trainers.
 
Patty Kelly, RN, is an International Master Trainer for Helping Babies Survive and a VHP volunteer. 

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Village Health Partnership

Our mission is to prevent maternal and neonatal death in childbirth and to treat and prevent gynecologic complications of childbirth in rural Ethiopia.

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