Press Release: Helping Babies Breathe training significantly reduces newborn deaths

Press release from AAP, Jan 22 2013:

Since the introduction of the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program in 2009, neonatal mortality in Tanzania has decreased dramatically, according to a study in the February 2013 Pediatrics (published online Jan. 21).

The study, "Newborn Mortality and Fresh Stillbirth Rates in Tanzania After Helping Babies Breathe Training," evaluated the basic steps taken by birth attendants when a baby wasn't breathing immediately after birth in eight regional Tanzanian hospitals for two years following HBB implementation.

HBB training, which includes using simple techniques like keeping the baby warm, rubbing the baby dry, or suctioning the baby's mouth, and if necessary correct application of a resuscitator for face mask ventilation, was associated with a 47 percent reduction in early neonatal mortality and a significant reduction in the rates of fresh stillbirths.

Study authors conclude that these exciting findings using a basic intervention approach, readily applicable at all deliveries, can benefit other health care facilities and hospitals, and should be used in all resource-limited countries to help reduce the number of newborn deaths.

Editor's Note: A related study, "Stillbirth and Newborn Mortality in India After Helping Babies Breathe Training," and commentary, "Addressing High Infant Mortality in the Developing World: A Glimmer of Hope," will be published in the February 2013 issue of Pediatrics.

More information can be found in the below articles:

-          Commentary from Editor in Pediatrics:Addressing High Infant Mortality in the Developing World: A Glimmer of Hope
-          Article: Newborn Mortality and Fresh Stillbirth Rates in Tanzania After Helping Babies Breathe Training
-          Article: Stillbirth and Newborn Mortality in India After Helping Babies Breathe Training