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Midwife program puts resuscitation in spotlight

Representative from the National Maternal and Child Health Center (NMCHC) joined the East Meets Wests Foundation yesterday to launch a new phase of the foundation’s Breath of Life program to address gaps in Cambodia’s newborn care, chiefly resuscitation resources and skills.

“[Midwives] may deliver babies, but they do not know how to resuscitate newborns during the first month of their lives. Babies and preterm babies can easily contract diseases and have difficulty breathing, affecting their health,” Som Rithy, deputy of the newborn care department of NMCHC, said.

He stressed that the first 28 days of care are critical for a newborn.

The foundation organised a five-day training for 45 doctors and nurses from 10 provinces, covering issues of infant care, resuscitation and infection control.

Along with teaching initiatives, the program will also provide hospital equipment in under-resourced care centers.

“We have designed medical equipment to put into hospitals throughout Southeast Asia that works with local conditions in terms of interfaces and [technical settings],” said Tom Low, executive vice president of East Meets West.

“Training knowledge for our service equipment is shared and transferred locally.”

ANT Italy, an NGO for the promotion of newborn care, also collaborated on the new project, funding the program’s expansion to nine provincial hospitals in order to establish functioning newborn care units at the additional locations for the first time.

UNICEF has said that most maternal and neonatal deaths are preventable and can be reduced by implementing universal delivery by skilled birth attendants, detection of complications, immediate post-partum care and the timely referral to health facilities.

In recent years, the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey (CDHS) has reported significant progress in the areas of maternal health, with the infant mortality rate decreasing by more than half between 2005 and 2010.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sen David at david.sen@phnompenhpost.com
With assistance from Rachel Will

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