Sierra Leone ranks as the worst country in the world for under-5 mortality: Nearly 182 out of every 1,000 children die before their fifth birthdays. Of these deaths, nearly 30 percent occur on the first day of life, resulting in 11,200 newborn deaths each year. The leading cause of newborn death is birth asphyxia/trauma, which accounts for 31 percent of newborn deaths each year.
Delivering babies at health facilities often come with a high cost and are usually far away from the women who need them most. This had lead to a prevalence of at-home deliveries throughout the country, particularly in rural areas. During deliver, mothers are usually joined with only a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) to support them. TBAs generally have no formal training and are often illiterate, which means that when a moment of crisis occurs, they often don’t have the skills, training and tools to respond in a way that may save the newborn baby’s life.
World Hope International Helps Babies Breathe
To reduce the number of newborn babies that die from birth asphyxia in Sierra Leone, World Hope International, in a partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Prize Foundation, is training and equipping Sierra Leonean health workers in newborn resuscitation. WHI will train 2,150 caregivers from 42 chiefdoms in five districts over the course of one year, with the ultimate goal of reducing neonatal mortality in hard-to-reach areas.
The key concept of HBB is the “Golden Minute,” which says that within the first minute of life, babies should be ventilated with a bag and mask if they are not breathing well on their own. The HBB training materials are pictorial-based and designed for even the most uneducated birth attendants, including those who are illiterate, to perform basic neonatal resuscitation. A realistic newborn simulator with a bulb suction and bag-mask ventilator allow for a hands-on approach to learning.
Help us continue our Helping Babies Breathe Program
We are calling on donors like you to help us continue providing life-changing training to birth attendants in Sierra Leone! We need to raise a total of $66,000 by December 31, 2017 to train 2,650 TBAs in Sierra Leone in newborn resuscitation – and save over 6,500 young lives. These funds will contribute to the costs of training TBAs in five districts of Sierra Leone (Bombali, Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Kambia, and Kono) in HBB resuscitation techniques. The funds will match $250,000 from the Children’s Prize Foundation, which selected WHI’s HBB project in 2015 as the winner of it’s an annual competition.
Please make a donation today and help save newborn lives!