Nearly one quarter of newborn deaths result from babies failing to draw their first breath after birth. Yet, researchers estimate that newborn resuscitation could save 30 percent of the 814,000 babies lost to this condition each year. The process requires equipment and training that many low-resource birthing settings lack, however, greatly limiting the number of babies around the world with access to this life-saving--or life-giving--practice.
Let’s sum it up simply—to save mothers we need to manage postpartum hemorrhage, eclampsia and sepsis. To save newborns it’s: breastfeeding, antenatal care and close management of hypothermia and pneumonia. During October’s MH Buzz Meeting, Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta of Pakistan’s Aga Khan University drove home the value of simple, evidence-based interventions for maternal and newborn health and the work out of Aga Khan.
During the summer after my first year of medical school, I had the opportunity to visit one of Bangladesh's most sophisticated children's hospitals. I spoke with one of the pediatricians there and asked him why the hospital did not have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). He replied, "It is too expensive to save the lives of sick newborns. Our hospital can't afford the fancy technology that you have in the US."
Two great panelists at the recent Better World by Design conference put on by Brown University and RISD deserve special mention because the represent exactly the kinds of social entrepreneurs Maternova loves to feature.
"The future is here, it is just not distributed equally"
A New CPAP by Design that Matters
Breath of Life is a program that directly addresses infant mortality in Southeast Asia through low-cost innovative clinical solutions. The East Meets West Foundation is a nonprofit which began the Breath of Life program in response to high infant mortality rates in Vietnam and elsewhere. Breath of Life saw the lack of attention and resources for neonatal mortality as a problem they could address.