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AIHA Neonatal Resuscitation Initiative

“The training I received through our AIHA partnership has dramatically altered both my understanding of neonatal care and my ability to practice medicine. As my experience with these techniques grows, I become more and more convinced that this is the right way to help our babies survive.”

Dr. Zoriana Salabay, neonatologist at the L’viv (Ukraine) Regional Neonatal Center (L’viv/Detroit partnership)

Maternal and child health is globally recognized as a key strategic focus for improving the health status of entire populations, yet high rates of infant and maternal mortality continue to challenge public health and development goals—particularly in resource-constrained settings.

Even in ideal birthing situations infants sometimes experience difficulty breathing on their own. Insufficient oxygen in the first few minutes of life can have a profound effect on normal development and even the survival of an otherwise healthy baby. The knowledge and skills of medical personnel involved in the birthing process can make a critical difference.

In response, some of AIHA’s earliest partnership programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia initiated training in neonatal resuscitation techniques—a cost-effective clinical approach with great life-saving potential. Proper neonatal resuscitation skills in delivery rooms and birth houses not only decrease infant mortality rates, they also reduce the number of developmental disabilities that can occur as a result of blood and oxygen depravation in the first minutes of life. At AIHA, we’re proud of the success of our neonatal resuscitation program, which has helped pave the way for long-term changes in newborn care in many countries throughout the region.

Projects

AIHA’s efforts to reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity through specific programmatic activities include:

Neonatal Resuscitation Training Centers

With the goal of creating sustainable capacity to effectively reduce mortality and morbidity rates among newborns, AIHA and its partners have established a network of 17 Neonatal Resuscitation Training Centers throughout Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. These centers have a uniform curriculum designed specifically to fit into the existing structure of healthcare systems in the region.

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Saving newborn lives and ensuring the most advantageous infant health outcomes is at the core of both AIHA’s Neonatal Resuscitation program and our Neonatal Resuscitation Training Centers. The training curriculum and materials used by these centers is based on the Association/American Academy of Pediatrics neonatal resuscitation program. In conjunction with our partners, we have translated both the AHA/AAP Textbook of Neonatal Resuscitation and Instructor’s Manual for Neonatal Resuscitation into Russian and Ukrainian languages.

The AIHA neonatal resuscitation training course provides healthcare professionals with a set of basic skills in newborn care that are standard practice in delivery rooms across the United States, Western Europe, and other areas of the world. At each center, delivery room personnel and other care providers learn how to assist infants who experience difficulty breathing on their own. Medical teams are taught procedures such as thermal management, infant positioning, suctioning, and stimulation, as well as more specialized skills such as ventilation, intubation, and the use of medications and volume. Many of these techniques can be implemented using minimal equipment and at little additional cost to the healthcare facility.

Neonatal Resuscitation Training Centers staff disseminate skills-based knowledge by conducting monthly training courses. They also routinely gather statistics from medical institutions that have sent staff for training in order to evaluate the impact of training in the region.

In collaboration with local and national ministries of health, AIHA and its partners have facilitated mandatory training in neonatal resuscitation for staff providing delivery room care and the inclusion of such training in medical school curricula. The Ukrainian Ministry of Health has established a national program on primary neonatal resuscitation to ensure individuals responsible for the care of newborns are competent in these skills. The Russian Federation established a similar program, based on the fact that neonatal mortality rates fell by more than 40 percent in several hospitals following implementation of AIHA’s Neonatal Resuscitation program.

Many AIHA partner institutions have sent clinical staff to one of the Neonatal Resuscitation Training Centers. The following partnerships participated in the Neonatal Resuscitation program:

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