The US would support Bangladesh develop newborn care corners across the country, ambassador Dan Mozena said Wednesday during his visit to the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University in Dhaka.
He said 60 percent of the under-five children in Bangladesh die within the first 28 days of birth.
“Newborn care corners are therefore essential to cut down child mortality”.
Bangladesh is the Obama administration’s priority country in the global health initiative.
During his visit, Mozena toured the university’s neonatal intensive care unit, the Centre for Neurodevelopment and Autism in Children, the Palliative Care Unit and the university’s proposed expansion site.
He particularly praised university’s leadership role in reducing breathing difficulties of newborns through the US government and UNICEF supported Helping Babies Breathe initiative.
Breathing difficulties causes 20 percent of all newborn deaths, but the new initiative used simple bag and mask device to help babies resuscitate.
The university has so far imparted training to 17,000 birth attendants across Bangladesh. The goal is to train an additional 30,000 birth attendants.
“This dynamic, innovative public-private partnership brings good hope that Bangladesh can greatly reduce or even eliminate birth asphyxia,” the ambassador said extolling Bangladesh’s target to cut preventable child deaths by 2035.
He said he was impressed to see the Centre for Neurodevelopment and Autism and appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s daughter Saima Hossain Putul who he said “has done so much to focus public and government attention on the challenges of autism in Bangladesh”.
He also lauded the doctors and staff of the university which was set up in April 1998.
The outgoing mission director of USAID Richard Greene also stressed the ‘critical role’ of the university in the government’s target to cut preventable child deaths by 2035.
University’s Pro-VC Prof Mohammad Shahidullah presented the details of the university’s activities after the ambassador’s visit and said they were collaborating with different global institutes for training and research.
The university currently maintains collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation, All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, Singapore, Nepal, Bhutan, Turkey and Sweden.
The vice-chancellor Prof Pran Gopal Datta also encouraged more foreign cooperation for training doctors, nurses and other staff.