News Release

Church Aids in Neonatal Resuscitation to Save Newborn Babies

Annual neonatal resuscitation training in Nigeria – conducted for the first time solely by Nigerians.

Child caregivers, doctors and midwives from different parts of Nigeria participated in a week-long conference and free workshops on neonatal resuscitation, with the objective of ensuring the safety and preservation of newborn lives.

The annual program was held in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria, from Jan. 15-21, organized by the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) in collaboration with LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day-Saints.

Throughout the world, between two and ten newborn babies out of every 1,000 suffer asphyxia (breathing difficulties) that often results in infant mortality. Nigeria is the most populous African nation with one of the highest birth rates in the world, and has an ever-increasing number of child delivery personnel.

The Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) workshop – focused on neonatal resuscitation – was launched to help reduce the infant mortality rate in Nigeria. 
During the conference, Dr. Ngozi Ibeziako, president elect of the Paediatric Association of Nigeria highlighted the impact of the program as a major contributing factor to the continual reduction in child mortality rates in the country.

This year also marks 10 years of partnership between the two organizations. Since the partnership began in 2005, more than 2,000 birth attendants, nurses and doctors have directly received training each year. These practitioners in turn have trained thousands of their colleagues and subordinates.Gina Okungbowa, a nurse who participated in the training this year, described the program as “a healthy and welcome development aimed at saving the lives of the voiceless.”

All the training sessions were conducted exclusively by native practitioners, which was a unique and historic dimension of this year’s program. These practitioners had received their training from LDS Charities professionals who came from the United States for similar programs held in previous years. This is expected to be the trend going forward.

Training materials, including manikins worth millions of naira, were donated to participating institutions for further training of local practitioners who could not attend the program.   
Dr. and Rev. Kenechukwu Iloh, another participant, asked for the continued support of the Church. “My joy will be full when all births survive and children grow to their fullest potentials,” he added.

 At the end of the workshop, approximately 80 participants received certificates of participation. The program also supports the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations for reducing the rate of infant and neonatal mortality.

Dr. Elizabeth Disu, deputy national president of PAN and training coordinator of the program, encouraged the participants to effectively utilize the training books and materials donated by the Church. She also expressed gratitude to the Church for its continuous support over the last 10 years and concluded the program has helped save many lives of newborn babies in Nigeria.

Also present at the conference were the executive members of PAN including Prof. Adebiyi Olowu, the outgoing national president; Dr. Jerom Elusiyan, national secretary; Dr. Petronila Tabansi, national treasurer; Dr. Sunday Ochigbo, assistant secretary; Dr. Babaniyi Iretiola, executive officer; Prof. Juliana Ojukwu, local organizing committee chairman, and Lady Mary Joy, honourable commissioner for Women Affairs in Ebonyi State. 

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