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UAB-led study shows simple steps could reduce stillbirths by up to 1 million
Date:2/18/2010

BIRMINGHAM, Ala - New findings in a study led by the director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Division of Neonatology show that that training birth attendants in essential newborn-care techniques reduced stillbirths by more than 30 percent - and potentially could save as many as 1 million lives worldwide each year.

Ninety-eight percent of the 3.7 million neonatal deaths and 3.3 million stillbirths each year occur in developing countries. This project, spearheaded by UAB's Waldemar A. Carlo, M.D., was designed to train birth attendants, including doctors, midwives, nurses and traditional birth attendants, in communities and hospitals in 96 communities worldwide. The findings were published in the Feb. 18 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"The birth attendants were trained to do several easy steps that are critical for babies to survive at birth and be kept alive through the first week of life," said Carlo, the lead author who worked with a large group of American and international colleagues. "We selected the World Health Organization course on essential newborn care because it contains what we believed are the essential interventions necessary to sustain life in many infants and created an educational package that included interventions that could be used by any birth attendant anywhere in the world."

Using the train-the-trainer model, local instructors trained birth attendants from rural communities in Argentina, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, India, Pakistan and Zambia. They used the World Health Organization (WHO) newborn-care course (routine neonatal care, resuscitation, thermoregulation, breastfeeding, kangaroo care, care of the small baby and common illnesses) and a modified version of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program (in-depth basic resuscitation).

The goal was to see if training birth attendants to use these interventi
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Contact: Jennifer Lollar
jpark@uab.edu
205-934-3888
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

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