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Breathing programme may help save newborns' lives: Studies

Published on Jan 22, 2013 8:19 AM

(REUTERS) - Training midwives and other birth attendants to help babies start breathing immediately after birth if they need help may prevent stillbirths and newborn deaths in the developing world, according to two United States (US) studies.

So-called birth asphyxia - when babies are born not breathing - is one of the major causes of newborn death in regions with limited resources, said researchers whose work appeared in Pediatrics.

Reducing infant mortality in the developing world is one of the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals - but progress has been slow, according to Dr Jeffrey Perlman from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, who helped implement the Helping Babies Breathe programme in Tanzania.

The programme, launched by the American Academy of Pediatrics, trains birth attendants to immediately dry and warm babies, and to start breathing for babies with a bag and mask if they don't breathe on their own within one minute.

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