‘Helping Babies Survive’, new survival package for Asian countries launched in Bangladesh

Leading experts, government officials, representatives from the UN agencies and USAID have rolled out a new newborn survival package for the Asian countries in Dhaka.

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 8 April 2015, 07:40 PM
Updated : 8 April 2015, 08:19 PM

The package, called ‘Helping Babies Survive’, has been built on the successes of the ‘Helping Babies Breathe’ programme.

It had only addressed the breathing problems after birth, a key cause of newborn deaths in developing countries including Bangladesh.

But the new version will focus comprehensively on hygiene, keeping babies warm, identifying early signs of danger and treating them with antibiotics to save lives in the first week.

'Kangaroo care' key for premature babies

The skilled birth attendants must learn how to resuscitate to save babies who do not breathe at birth.

They also need to use chlorhexidine for umbilical cord cleansing to prevent infections and administer simple antibiotic regime to treat sepsis and pneumonia.

Most of the newborn in developing countries die within a week of their birth.

Unicef Representative in Dhaka Edouard Beigbeder, WHO Representative Navarantnasamy Paranietharan, and USAID Director for Population Health and Nutrition Melissa Jones spoke in the same voice to work on Helping Babies Survive programme.

Health Secretary Syed Monzurul Islam represented the government.

Trainers of 11 Asian countries including Bangladesh have convened to learn those techniques from Apr 9 to Apr 13 so that they can train up their fellows and birth attendants back home.

“Our focus is preventable deaths must be prevented,” Dr Ishtiaque Mannan, Chief of Party of USAID’s MCHIP Programme, said.

He said essential newborn care on the first day helps babies survive the initial moment after birth.

“It (Helping Babies Survive) has been launched globally. This Dhaka workshop is its Asia launching,” he told bdnews24.com after the inauguration on Wednesday evening.

Bangladesh is on MDG track by cutting under-5 child mortality by 60 percent in the last two decades.

It has already pledged to end ‘preventable’ child deaths by 2035.

Of the total under-5 deaths, more than 60 percent happened within the children’s first month of birth mainly due to infections, difficulty in breathing and pre-mature births.