Association Seeks to Implement ‘Helping Babies Breath’ Programme

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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

The Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) has indicated interest to implement the ‘Helping Babies Breath'(HBB) programme, which aims at reducing child mortality as a result of lack of oxygen at birth.

A Nigerian based medical practitioner, Dr. Biodun Ogungbo, who disclosed this in a statement, said this has become a necessity as about 29,000 deaths of children under the ages of five and 21 are recorded every minute daily due to lack of oxygen at birth.

He said the association which has a mission called ‘Healthier Nigeria, Healthier World’ will reach out to help babies breath in line with its overall mission which includes infant stimulation, suction of the nose and mouth when appropriate, and the use of a bag-valve-mask to improve breathing and to circulate oxygen.

He said for maximum effect, delivery care providers must be trained and exposed to the material repeatedly over long periods of time, adding that the approach is termed the ‘High Frequency Low Dose’ method.

He said: “ANPA Maternal Child Health Committee is focused on implementation of Helping Babies Breath program (ANP HBB). Helping Babies Breath (HBB) is a low-cost, global initiative that seeks to reduce deaths due to birth asphyxia and other respiratory complications that could occur at birth.

“These life-saving techniques include infant stimulation, suction of the nose and mouth when appropriate, and the use of a bag-valve-mask to improve breathing and to circulate oxygen.

“HBB teaches the skills of caring for healthy babies and assisting babies that do not breathe on their own after birth. The HBB technique is very effective, especially if it becomes a standard way of managing all newborn babies.

“It has now been introduced in over 80 countries with 450,000 birth attendants trained and equipped.

“Through this method, delivery care providers are exposed to HBB through initial one-day training, followed by daily practice sessions at their health care facilities. Additionally, the trainees receive refresher workshops and are frequently retested on their skills.”