Stories from the Field: Master Trainers

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The Helping Babies Breathe (HBB)Training of Master Trainers Workshop Grand Hostel


The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Guyana Country O​ffice, the Latin American Neonatal Alliance, the Latin American Centre of Perinatology/Sexual Reproductive Health (CLAP/SRM) and the Church of the Latter-Day Saints Association, conducted a training of trainers workshop on helping the babies breathe program (HBB) held at Grand Coastal Hotel, Georgetown on 11-14 March 2012. This workshop was important because one of the main causes of death in newborns is perinatal asphyxia (failure to start breathing), which can be prevented with skilled birth attendance in many cases, but sometimes requires competent treatment with resuscitation measures. It is also important that every birth attendant, whe​​​rever he or she is, acquires the requisite knowledge and competencies for successful neonatal resuscitation. That is the reason why the basic resuscitation program Helping Babies Breathe was developed; to make sure that health providers with various levels of knowledge and skills are able to help a baby breathe at birth wherever needed.


Pic 1: The expert trainers on HBB.​​​

Under the leadership of Dr. Goldy Mazia, Chair – Latin America Neonatal Alliance, 6 international trainers: Ms. Rosie Felix from Dominica; Dr. Magdalena Serpa, Dr. Lloyd Jensen, and Dr. Danette Wolford from USA; Ms. Valerie Francis from Barbados; Ms. Shirley Curtis from Bahamas; and 2 national trainers: Ms. Maria Francois and Ms. Tracy Gentle from Guyana facilitated the HBB workshop. The facilitators (Pic 1) had a one-day meeting on 10 March 2014 to unify the methodology and adequately planned the workshop.

Amon​g the 70 participants, 6 were Haitians midwives who received the training in French. The remaining 63 were nurses-midwives, medexes and medical doctors from the 10 regions in Guyana and 1 from the Guyana Nursing School.


Pic 2: The training Materials being received by Ministry of Health from PAHO/WHO Rep.

​The training mater​​ials (donated by the PAHO/WHO Guyana Country Office and the Latin American Centre of Perinatology/Sexual Reproductive Health CLAP/SMR) (Pic 2) for each participant consisted of baby mannequins, bags, masks, suction devises, stethoscopes, learner books, flipcharts and the action plan posters.​

Using the HBB-Learner Workbook, the participants, were able to learn about the preparation for birth, routine care, the golden minute, co​​​​ntinued ventilation with normal or slow heart rate. (Pic 2)

The HBB Programme

The Helping the Babies Breathe (HBB) is a training program endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and has currently been implemented in many countries in the LAC region and the world since 2010. Since the introduction of this program, some studies have shown significant reduction in deaths among babies with the intervention of the HBB techniques at birth. Hence, PAHO/WHO and the LAC Neonatal Alliance are supporting the Ministry of Health in the startup of t​he national HBB program in Guyana. As a result of the HBB training of trainers, Guyana is now ready to train newborn care health providers at national level. (Pic 3)


Pic 3: Health workers being trained on HBB
Pic 3: Health workers being trained on HBB

Helping the Babies Breathe focuses on “The Golden Minute”, when stimulation to breathe and ventilation with bag and mask can save the l​​ife of a newborn with difficulties to breathe. The Golden Minute happens only if a person skilled in helping a baby breathe is present during the delivery. The exercise of the Golden Minute was the most important moment of the training; the facilitators demonstrated how to clear the airway and stimulate breathing during the golden minute and the baby’s responses. Learners worked in pairs, with the mannequins to practice the golden minute which included the ventilation exercise when, using the bag and mask, to help the baby breathe.

At the end of the training, certificates were presented to the participants by Dr. Bheri Ramsaran, Minister of Health, Dr. William Adu-Krow, PAHO/WHO Representative, Dr. Janice Woolford Director MCH/MOH and the facilitators of the training. (Pic 4-5)​


Pic 4: A new HBB expert trainer receiving the certificate form WHO Rep. Dr. Adu-Krow
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Pic 5: Minister of Health Guyana presenting a certificate












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