By Olasunkanmi Onifade
Dr Biodun Ogungbo, a Neurosurgeon with a private hospital in Abuja, said that the maternal child group of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas (ANPA) would train health workers to provide neonatal services to curb deaths.
Ogungbo, who is a member of the group, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that the training was informed by the increase of neonatal deaths in the country.
“The Maternal Child group of ANPA would be training providers on ways to resuscitate newborns with breathing difficulties within the delivery room.
“We would be performing the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) training to 100 potential trainees such as physicians, nurse midwives, traditional birth attendants and or personnel involved in mother- baby care in the delivery room.
“The training is scheduled for April 9th to 10th in Abuja 2019 at the National Hospital Abuja.
“The HBB is an evidence-based educational programme to teach neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited areas.
“The objective of HBB is to train staff in developing countries in the essential skills of newborn resuscitation, with the goal of having at least one person who is skilled in neonatal resuscitation at the birth of every baby.
“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 is the first module in the Helping Babies Survive (HBS) suite of evidence-based educational programmes by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP),’’ he said.
He said that studies indicated that HBB can reduce neonatal mortality on the first day by up to 47 per cent.
He said new born babies with brain injury due to oxygen deprivation can develop cerebral palsy, adding that such children do not achieve their full potential in most cases.
He said high number of children under the age of five to 21 died daily, mainly from some preventable causes of brain injuries.
He said one of those preventable causes was lack of oxygen at birth called by birth asphyxia.
“A 2008 bulletin from the World Health Organisation estimated that 900,000 total infants die each year from birth asphyxia, making it a leading cause of death for newborns.
“Typically pregnancy would be uneventful and all perfect till the time of delivery when the baby would then come out blue in the face, asking for a breath.
“Traditionally, a smack or two will elicit a shrill cry from the baby and all will be well. Sometimes, the baby will remain silent not breathing.
“If nothing was done as a matter of urgency, the baby has a high chance of dying or becoming brain injured,” Ogungbo said.