Helping Babies Breathe

RACHA staff member Mey Nary helps midwifery students understand the HBB method in Angkor Chum, SIem

RACHA staff member Mey Nary helps midwifery students understand the HBB method, using the manikins, in Angkor Chum, Siem Reap, in August 2012.

Neonatal mortality (the death of a baby within 28 days of birth) has improved from 27 per 1,000 live births in 2010 to 18 per 1,000 live births per year in 2014 (CDHS). Implementing evidence-based practices for all babies at birth can save newborn lives. RACHA, in collaboration with WHO, provides technical and other supports to the National Maternal and Child Health Center to strengthen immediate newborn care practices through the scaling up and nationwide rollout of the Immediate Newborn Care coaching course for all health workers involved in maternal and newborn care. This course is based on the acclaimed Helping Babies Breathe program, which was specifically developed for resource-limited countries, but extended to two-days to meet local need by facilitating interactive and participatory small group learning through role plays with sequential step by step practice for the care of breathing and non-breathing babies at birth.

Evidence-based routine newborn care practices such as thorough and immediate drying at birth and the baby being held in direct skin-to-skin contact by the mother, at least until after the first breastfeed, help to prevent heat loss, keep the baby warm and reduce the risk of infection. Occasionally, even when given appropriate care, some babies do not breathe at birth. Many of these babies can be successfully resuscitated by using bag and mask ventilation. RACHA has an established track record of supporting newborn resuscitation training in Cambodia since 2004. It was the lead implementing partner when neonatal resuscitation programs (NRP) were introduced in Cambodia in 2004 supported by Latter-Day Saint Charities (LDSC) and in collaboration with the National Maternal and Child Health Center (NMCHC).

RACHA was also instrumental in making the transition from Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) to Helping Babies Breathe (HBB). RACHA was responsible for the translation of all the HBB training materials from English into Khmer which made the HBB learning materials accessible to all health professionals in Cambodia. It supported the rolling out of Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) nationwide to reduce neonatal mortality. It has trained 3,644 birth attendants since its launching in September 2010 to June 2012. RACHA has shared its HBB experience during the Helping Babies Breathe Global Development Alliance (GDA) second annual meeting on July 17 in Washington DC.

RACHA also has supported the implementation of simple and effective care practices which will contribute towards saving newborn lives through active involvement in continuing education and supportive supervision of midwives.

RACHA has collaborated with LDSC and RHAC to purchase manikins and neonatal resuscitation training kits for nationwide distribution to health facilities for on-site coaching and maintenance of neonatal resuscitation skills. With generous support from LDSC, RACHA also replaces broken or missing neonatal gadgets.

In September 2016, LDSC has provided neonatal resuscitation devices to NMCHC and MoH through RACHA. These include: 100 NeoNatalie Complete Set (Light), 250 Duffle Bag Green Charities Logo, 500 Stethoscope, Pediatric, 500 NeoNatalie Suction Bulbs, 500 NeoNatalie Resuscitators and 2 masks. The handover ceremony of these materials were held on 16 September 2016, at NMCHC in the presence of H.E Hou Samith, new BOD Director of RACHA, Prof. Tung Rathavy, NMCHC Director, Chan Theary and representatives from MoH, WHO, URC, RACHA Team and LDSC staff from the US.