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Frontline Health Workers Essential For Newborn Survival

“An infant’s first moments and the twenty-eight days that follow are the most precarious, and her risk of death is never higher,” but “[s]imple and inexpensive techniques, … such as drying her, clearing her airway, keeping her warm or using a simple ventilation device to stimulate her breathing, can help,” and frontline health workers “deliver these lifesaving techniques,” Sharon D’Agostino, vice president of worldwide corporate contributions and community relations for Johnson & Johnson, and Winifred Mwebesa of Save the Children write in the Huffington Post’s “Global Motherhood” blog. They discuss the “Helping Babies Breathe” education initiative that trains health workers on skills such as resuscitation. The authors continue, “Frontline health workers are our global health heroes but, according to World Health Organization, we do not have nearly enough of them, especially in Africa, where there may be fewer than two trained doctors for every 1,000 people.”

“So, as global development officials convene in New York City to discuss progress toward the U.N. Millennium Development Goals this week, Save the Children, the African Medical and Research Foundation, mothers2mothers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, IntraHealth, ProMujer, Freedom from Hunger and Johnson & Johnson will on Monday honor the role frontline health workers play in safeguarding the health of the most vulnerable people in the world’s poorest regions,” D’Agostino and Mwebesa write, adding, “And we’ll promote strategies to train and support more frontline health workers — who are primarily women — as a cost-effective and sustainable solution to our greatest global health challenges” (9/21).