MedGlobal volunteers are Helping Babies Breathe in Bangladesh

MedGlobal’s highly-skilled and diverse team of volunteers recently returned from Cox Bazar, Bangladesh, where they taught the Helping Babies Breathe course to local health practitioners.

Helping Babies Breathe is an internationally recognized, evidence-based educational program aimed at reducing infant mortality by providing life-saving measures within the first minute of birth – the “Golden Minute.” The Helping Babies Breathe program has been shown to improve neonatal mortality rates around the world, specifically in resource-limited areas like Bangladesh. A key component of the mission aimed to create sustainability by training some of the participants as instructors who can make a further impact beyond the mission by continuing to train members of the local healthcare community.

Since August 2017, nearly 1 million Rohingya have fled genocide in their home country of Myanmar. They have since been located in a makeshift camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. More than half of the Rohingya refugees are female and nearly one-third are of reproductive age. According to UNICEF, Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of neonatal deaths in the world, nearly 90% of which are considered preventable. The three main causes of neonatal death in the Rohingya population, estimated from statistics available from Myanmar, are prematurity, birth asphyxia, and sepsis. MedGlobal recognized the need for life-saving training in Bangladesh and organized this mission to improve neonatal mortality in the local refugee camp and surrounding host community in Cox’s Bazar.

MedGlobal, in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Sector partners in Bangladesh, sent a team of 7 volunteer Master Trainers to Cox’s Bazar to teach the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) course. Skilled birth attendants who work in and around the Rohingya refugee camp participated in the training, including more than 200 doctors and midwives, 28 of whom were taught as instructors. Educational material was provided to 36 facilities to support ongoing training and resuscitation equipment was donated to 65 facilities.

Helping Babies Breathe in Bangladesh volunteers

The team of volunteer Master Trainers were highly-skilled and came from diverse medical backgrounds. They included Lia Harris, Pediatrician from Vernon, British Columbia; Tracy Ibgui, Nurse from Chicago, Illinois; Harriet Hawkins, Nurse from Oak Park, Illinois; Dustin Zwiebel, Paramedic from Denver, Colorado; Karen Arnold, Family Physician from Vancouver, British Columbia; Michael Drusano, Family Physician from Oakland, California; and Henna Qureshi, Pediatrician from Fairfax, Virginia. The team of volunteers also included photographer Ruth A. Kaiser from Berkeley, California.

MedGlobal partnered with the UNFPA to organize the mission. MedGlobal and partners will be evaluating the impact of the training and monitoring skills developed from the training in practice. Sponsors included the Sabrina Memorial Foundation and MedGlobal donors.

MedGlobal will be organizing future Helping Babies Breathe training to resource-limited areas like Bangladesh and other resource-limited settings, including refugee camps, in the near future. Please support the future Helping Babies Breathe missions and donate to MedGlobal today!