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Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) is an evidence-based educational program to teach neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited areas. It is an initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), US Agency for International Development (USAID), Saving Newborn Lives, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, and a number of other global health organizations.

The WHO estimates that one million babies die each year from birth asphyxia (eg. inability to breathe immediately after delivery). The HBB program addresses this challenge as well as helping to move forward Millennium Development Goal #4 (MDG4) reduction of child mortality by two thirds from 1990 to 2015.

The objective of HBB is to train birth attendants in developing countries in the essential skills of newborn resuscitation, with the goal of having at least one person who is skilled in neonatal resuscitation at the birth of every baby.

A key concept of HBB is The Golden Minute ®: Within one minute of birth, a baby should be breathing well or should be ventilated with a bag and mask. The Golden Minute identifies the steps that a birth attendant must take immediately after birth to evaluate the baby and stimulate breathing.

The HBB curriculum is designed to be used as part of a coordinated educational approach to early neonatal care and can be effectively combined with other curricula. It can be locally taught to birth attendants in diverse venues and locations. HBB focuses on practices that all persons who care for babies at birth can learn to care for healthy babies and/or assist babies who do not breathe on their own.

To accomplish this goal HBB has developed a comprehensive training solution, which includes:

  • An evidence-based educational program, based on the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) Consensus on Science conclusions that have undergone a WHO scientific technical review.
  • Culturally sensitive, pictorial-based learning materials including a Learner Workbook, Action Plan wall poster, and Facilitator Flip Chart.
  • Realistic newborn simulator with ability to imitate an umbilical pulse, bag-mask ventilators, and bulb suction that can be cleaned by boiling. All equipment has been tested for durability in a variety of climates and teaching conditions and will be made available at cost to MDG countries.
  • An ongoing mentorship program to provide: expert assistance, implementation guidance, knowledge exchange, integration and evaluation support, and continuous quality improvement for sustained practice outcomes and decreased infant mortality.

HBB has a system-based focus designed to change clinical practice across systems of care. Achieving MDG 4 requires that the workplace be ready for ongoing training and practicing of the skills learned to help babies breathe at birth. HBB training should be considered as part of continuing practice improvements for facilitators, learners and health systems.

HBB training material was released in June 2010.

For more detailed information see the HBB Brochure.

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