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Archive for March, 2012

Helping Babies Breathe

The month of March has been extremely busy at work, which is why I’ve been particularly delinquent at posting this month. Most of my time was spent preparing for a visiting delegation of neonatal nursing trainers who are currently in Rwanda to train birth attendants in Kigali and Gisenyi in a program called Helping Babies Breathe (HBB).

Helping Babies Breathe aims at training birth attendants in developing countries in the essential skills of newborn resuscitation, focusing on a baby’s first 60 seconds of life. According to the World Health Organization, one million babies die each year from birth asphyxia, the inability to breathe immediately after delivery. Eos Visions has been working with Sherri Brown, an HBB master trainer, for several years in establishing this program in Rwanda. This March 2012 trip is the first official training trip by Sherri and therefore required a great deal of time and energy on the ground here to make sure that things go smoothly.

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Preparations for the training included receiving guidance and permission from the Ministry of Health, selecting receptive and interested training institutions, ensuring that 25-30 qualified participants were selected and informed, preparing the venue and logistics, and troubleshooting along the way. Surprisingly it’s not so easy to simply show up at a hospital or health training institution and say “we want to offer your staff/students a free workshop in valuable life-saving skills.” The words “training” or “workshop” come with the expectation of all expenses being covered, which raised a few budgetary issues. Luckily we were ultimately able to compromise on providing lunch for training participants (but no transport reimbursement or daily stipend).

Through Eos Visions, Sherri plans to return to Rwanda several times over the following years with more groups of trainers to continue training in HBB at health centers around the country, guided by and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Although making the preparations was difficult at times, it is well worth the reward of watching trainings taking place and observing tangible knowledge being transferred in such an important skill.

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