This year you supported a great, energetic team of nurses who taught 45 Guatemalan midwives how to resuscitate an infant who is not breathing at birth. We can’t thank you enough for your generosity in giving these midwives an opportunity to learn new skills and receive the appropriate equipment to advance their knowledge during a delivery. It seems as though every year when we return, Dr. Vicente tells us a story of a lifesaving event…we are making a difference!
We again stayed at Las Gravileas near Antigua, Guatemala. It is in a beautiful location where we can eat, sleep and teach. The staff there spoils us with delicious meals!
We continue to teach the Helping Babies Breathe Program developed by a public-private alliance amongst an international group of organizations in response to the World Health Organization’s 2010 goal of reducing infant mortality worldwide. The use of pictorial learning materials and baby mannequins makes the Helping Babies Breathe program very accessible to the midwives in resource-limited countries around the world. The programs include visual guidebooks, flipcharts and posters containing clear, specific instructions to follow. It is also dependent on hands-on learning skill sets and role-playing over the course of two days. The focus is to accomplish these steps within the Golden Minute to save lives and give a much better start to many babies who struggle to breathe at birth.
We also teach Essential Newborn Care to our midwives. We cover different topics such as monitoring for infections, cord care, eye care, temperature stability, breastfeeding, care of a low-birth weight infant, and recognition of an infant who might need advanced care. We do provide everyone with a digital thermometer and give them a chart to easily recognize whether the infant has a normal temperature or if the infant is too hot or too cold. Some midwives are unable to read or write, but with practice, they learn to “match” the number on the chart.
This year, most of the midwives traveled some distance to take our courses. Many came from San Juan Sacatepequez; others came from Tecpan and villages near Escuintla. For most of these midwives, we paid for their transportation to come to our courses as they had to travel quite a distance.
The success of our trips to Guatemala truly are dependent on the nurses who volunteer their time to provide the essential teaching at the tables when we break up into small groups. Their enthusiasm, knowledge and respect for these midwives is truly phenomenal. A very gracious thank you to these nurses who came this year; Leeann (who is my assistant, teaches every year and is extremely organized!!), Monica, Shannon, Allie, Alizabeth, Vui, Suzanne and Kathleen. Each nurse is provided with a Spanish translator and at some tables an additional translator that speaks one of the indigenous languages. We owe a big thanks to our translators Jose, Kiki, Renata, Meg (Maria Estuardo), Julia, Luisa, Han Shu, Jan, Victoria and Magdalena.
The pictures are what really describe our trip. We have established so many new relationships among the midwives and translators which makes it very difficult to say goodbye. Fortunately, we can look back on our website at www.babysbreathproject.org or our Facebook page and view our memories and new friendships…and invite you to do the same.
Thanks for your support of our organization!!
With warmest regards,
Meg Dornfeld, Chair, Director