Latter-day Saint Charities Updates

New Training Helps Brazilian Midwives Save Infant Lives

Brazilian midwife using a manikin to learn how to resuscitate a baby.

The first five minutes of an infant’s life are the most vital to their survival: appropriate actions taken during that time can significantly reduce the risk of neonatal death. Because of the importance of these first few minutes, LDS Charities partnered with the Brazilian Pediatric Society and the Ministry of Health to host a neonatal resuscitation course for midwives on August 15, 2015.​

For the past 10 years, LDS Charities has been working with the Brazilian Pediatric Society to help train doctors and nurses in techniques for saving newborns’ lives. LDS Charities has recently trained more than 200 doctors and nurses on these techniques in three different Brazilian cities. The training in August was LDS Charities’ first-ever neonatal resuscitation course specifically for midwives.

The training was held in Caruaru, a city in northeast Brazil, in the state of Pernambuco. Dr. Ryan Wilcox, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, attended the course, as did 20 of the most prominent midwives in the state. The training included brief presentations and hands-on exercises to practice proper resuscitation techniques.

As part of the course, each midwife received a kit containing the medical equipment needed to adequately care for newborn babies with breathing problems and other teaching materials to demonstrate what she learned to other midwives.

Among the participants were four 70-year-old women, who have been midwives in their communities for over 40 years. All of these women started the training with no previous experience using a resuscitator. By the end of the course, all four women were not only able to use a resuscitator but also able to teach others how to properly use one.

At the end of the neonatal resuscitation training, LDS Charities representative Fernando Souza gave a few remarks and thanked all those who participated. As Souza finished his remarks, one senior midwife raised her hand and said, “We don't want to go because this has been such a wonderful day, and I don't want it to end.”

Because of the success of the course, LDS Charities hopes to continue its work with the Brazilian Pediatric Society and the Ministry of Health to conduct more neonatal resuscitation training for midwives in the future.