After a one-year break because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this past January found us in a new town which was more centralized and accessible for those students needing to use public transportation. The mayor of El Tejar, Chimaltenango, Guatemala (30 miles west of Guatemala City) provided us with rooms in a fine motel which had a large and open teaching space where we could have our classes for the midwives, nurses and fire personnel. There was also a couple of areas for eating outside in the warm sunshine when we had our breaks and lunch, and the food was excellent!
We did set up more specific guidelines in order to decrease the chances of getting COVID-19. Rather than a nurse and translator teaching four to six students at each table, we limited it to two. Everyone wore a mask at all times. Students ate in a different area than the team. In the past, we have often had our teams sharing rooms while in Guatemala, but this year each person was provided their own room. At the end of the trip when we were required to get tested before re-entering the United States, we were happy to celebrate that all of our tests came back negative!
We continue to utilize the program “Helping Babies Breathe” developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The emphasis of this program is to assess whether or not an infant is breathing at birth and the steps to take before giving breaths with a bag and mask within the first minute of life (“The Golden Minute”). We continue to give each of the students a backpack filled with the supplies necessary to put their training to use. We also provided a pamphlet that was designed by one of our former team members, Annie Borman, that touched on more of the essentials of newborn care. We were able to accomplish all of this in one day for each of our three days of students.
We appreciate hearing the midwives’ stories and sharing their expertise as we provide our knowledge of resuscitating a baby. One student told us she had observed another midwife delivering a baby who was not breathing. The midwife practiced the steps we taught, then gave the baby some breaths with the bag and mask and the baby started to breathe. She questioned the midwife about where she had learned to do the resuscitation skills and was told that she had taken our class a couple of years ago. I am so happy that baby had a chance in life and proud of that midwife!! We had a successful week of teaching 23 midwives, nurses and fire personnel.
Again, our success lies with the nurses and translators who teach with each of the groups of students. Their knowledge, guidance, patience and respect inspire these students to do their very best. All of our nurses this January had traveled with Baby’s Breath Project in the past. A very big thanks to Leeann Krueger, RN; Christine Johnson, RN; Shannon Grovum, RN: and Allie Mareck, RN. And our sincere gratitude for our translators from Guatemala: Kiki, Sassy, Dulce and Selena.
Quite a few nurses have already approached us about going back to Guatemala in January of 2023. We are hoping that we will have the funds to support two teams in Guatemala for next year – we know there are plenty of midwives, nurses and fire personnel waiting for the opportunity to attend – and we hope to teach over 100 students in 2023.
Please note: Baby’s Breath Project has changed our address. We will be located at 7084 Cahill Road, Edina, MN 55439. Thanks to everyone for your generous support of our organization!
Con mis mejores deseos (with warmest regards),
Meg Dornfeld, Director