Dr. Nigora Israilova, a neonatologist in Uzbekistan, will always remember the day when a baby was born not breathing in her hospital. At the time, Dr. Nigora didn’t have the knowledge, the skills, or the equipment to help, and the baby died.
Dr. Nigora’s hospital received resuscitation training and equipment. Soon afterward, another baby was born not breathing. A medical expert from another facility who was consulting on the case advised Dr. Nigora to let the baby die. But she continued to ventilate with the resuscitation bag and mask, and the baby recovered. Dr. Nigora learned the value of training and resuscitation skills. “Now I am not afraid,” she says.
Dr. Umida Kasimova practices in a large hospital in Uzbekistan’s Fergana Valley. She says that she and her colleagues use the skills they learned at a Latter-day Saint Charities training every day. All birth attendants are beginning to use the same procedures and are working together much more successfully. “In my hospital, everyone knows the steps of resuscitation,” she says.
These doctors are just two of 40 national neonatology master trainers under the leadership of Dr. Malika Usmanova. They are passionate and selfless in their commitment to improve the lives of babies, children, and families as they travel throughout Uzbekistan and teach neonatology and pediatric care. They are heroes to the nearly 700,000 babies born annually in this central Asian country.
Dr. Malika notes a marked change in attitudes since the implementation of this project. “Birth attendants are eager to come to the trainings and to learn new protocols. The more attention and care that is paid to newborns and emergency care, the better,” she says.
Latter-day Saint Charities Maternal and Newborn Care teams are honored to have participated in beautiful and historic Uzbekistan as partners with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and UNFPA to participate in this great effort to improve the lives of mothers and babies.