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Helping Babies Breathe Training Significantly Reduces Newborn Deaths

1/21/2013 For Release: January 21, 2012

​​​​​​​​Since the introduction of the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program in 2009, neonatal mortality in Tanzania has decreased dramatically, according to a study in the February 2013 Pediatrics (published online Jan. 21). The study, “Newborn Mortality and Fresh Stillbirth Rates in Tanzania After Helping Babies Breathe Training,” evaluated the basic steps taken by birth attendants when a baby wasn’t breathing immediately after birth in eight regional Tanzanian hospitals for two years following HBB implementation. HBB training, which includes using simple techniques like keeping the baby warm, rubbing the baby dry, or suctioning the baby’s mouth, and if necessary correct application of a resuscitator for face mask ventilation, was associated with a 47 percent reduction in early neonatal mortality and a significant reduction in the rates of fresh stillbirths. Study authors conclude that these exciting findings using a basic intervention approach, readily applicable at all deliveries, can benefit other health care facilities and hospitals, and should be used in all resource-limited countries to help reduce the number of newborn deaths.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. (

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