29 September 2016
Helping Babies Breathe
It’s nothing unusual when a newborn won’t start to breathe by itself immediately after birth, but it is still a serious medical threat. All over the world, there are children dying every day before they even get the chance to live. This is a problem especially in rural areas where there is no hospital nearby. However, there is still a way to save these lives. People just need to know how to stimulate breath in unresponsive newborn infants.
For this reason, Dr. Barry and Sandra Anderson decided to travel the world and provide simple yet effective training to medical students nine years ago. The program, in cooperation with “LDS Charities” and the “Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center,” has already achieved success in India, Burma and Haiti as well as in several South American and Asian countries. For the past 3 years, Barry and Sandra have paid an annual visit to Palestine to teach students all over the West Bank. On Thursday, September 29th, 18 students of the Bethlehem University’s Nursing faculty had the opportunity to attend the Andersons’ “Helping Babies Breathe” training session.
“When an infant won’t start to breathe, time is all that matters. After 5 minutes without oxygen, the brain of a newborn will suffer irreversible damage. After another 5 minutes, it will die. In case of an emergency, there is no time to get an ambulance coming or drive to the hospital in the next city. That’s why you have to raise awareness and train as many different people as possible,” Barry emphasizes. A main goal of the training is to achieve a snowball effect. “Training for Trainers” is the unofficial motto of the event. Every trained student should train at least two new people, and so on. Barry and Sandra have trained over 2000 people. The Andersons’ trainees, in turn, have trained another 25000 people as registered in the Anderson’s database.
On this day at BU, the 18 students learned step by step procedures to prepare them for every imaginable situation during and directly after a birth. To practice the handling of different tools, e.g. a manual respirator, the Andersons brought special infant practice dummies designed specifically for medical training issues. Furthermore, Dr. Anderson showed the interested audience some simple tricks to animate an unresponsive infant’s breath, such as stimulating sensitive parts of the body.
By the end of the training module, the students left the new Bethlehem Hall Nursing Simulation Lab with the feeling they just learned something for life – their lives, and many young lives in the future!
Bethlehem University is glad to have hosted such an important and productive event and is looking forward to further collaboration.