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American Academy of Pediatrics Announces New Commitment with Global Partners to Save Newborns

CHICAGO—Two years after the establishment of a unique public-private partnership with the US Government -- Survive and Thrive: Professional Associations, Private Sector and Global Health Scholars Saving Mothers, Newborns and Children -- the alliance has mobilized pediatric associations of Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, and the United States to commit to saving at least 100,000 newborn babies every year in contribution to the goal of ending preventable newborn deaths. 

This initiative represents a commitment by these countries, along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and several private sector and professional organizations, to respond to the goals of the Every Newborn Action Plan and the Millennium Development Goals.

The initiative will improve clinical competencies of health professionals in developing countries, scale up quality improvement processes and approaches, bring affordable technologies and innovative educational materials and products to health care workers, and evaluate the effectiveness of these programs. To tackle the major causes of newborn death, the partnership will roll out a suite of training modules called “Helping Babies Survive” that includes Helping Babies Breathe™, Essential Care for Every Baby, Antenatal Corticosteroid, and Essential Care for Small Babies. 
The three selected countries will work with US-based organizations to pilot these modules, which build on the concept of simple innovation introduced by the widely adopted and successful “Helping Babies Breathe” ™ program. This program, launched in 2010, has trained more than 200,000 birth attendants in more than 60 low resource countries. HBB is a zero/low literacy resuscitation educational intervention designed to ensure that every birth attendant has the knowledge, skills and tools available to provide simple, effective interventions to manage asphyxia at every birth. Studies in Tanzania and Nepal have shown early newborn mortality is reduced by nearly 50 percent. At scale, HBB has the potential to have a great impact on newborn deaths from birth asphyxia.
According to AAP Executive Director and CEO Errol R. Alden, MD, FAAP, “The Helping Babies Survive project will allow us to build on our partnerships in these countries to support their systems and communities to save children. Using simple innovations that are tailored to a specific environment can have stunning results. Every baby saved will represent a small but significant triumph. We are grateful to our partners for hosting this work.”

Helping100,000 Babies Survive and Thrive” is an initiative of the AAP in partnership with the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, the National Neonatal Forum of India, the Ethiopian Pediatric Association, and the Pediatric Association of Nigeria with the support of the US Agency for International Development, Laerdal Global Health, Johnson & Johnson, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.  Discussions with other funders are underway. A planning meeting with the leaders of the four pediatric societies was hosted by the AAP on June 24 in Washington, DC.

The initiative, a part of the overall effort to reduce maternal, child and newborn deaths globally, will be implemented in collaboration with the partners of the Survive and Thrive alliance: the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Nurse-Midwives, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Johnson & Johnson, Laerdal Global Health, Jhpiego, Save the Children, March of Dimes, the National Institutes for Child Health and Development, and the US Agency for International Development.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org