News Release

American Medical Staff travels to Botswana to Provide Neonatal Training

This team provided a ‘train-the-trainer’ neonatal training program for resuscitation skills and resuscitation equipment to doctors, nurses, and midwives in the Francistown area.

Infant mortality rates reach up to 40% in some areas in Africa, many due to a community medical care’s lack of knowledge in neonatal resuscitation. LDS Charities provides practical training, technology, and materials to people in several African countries, decreasing newborn death rates significantly. Many infants’ lives are now saved due to the efforts in resuscitation training. 

On the 6th of June, trainees gathered at the Institute of Health Sciences Auditorium in Francistown, Botswana to receive certificates for successfully completing the “Helping Babies Breathe” training.  Course Completion Certificates were presented to half of the 102 graduates of the program trained in two separate groups during the two-week period. The first group, consisting of more advanced doctors and nurses earned their certificates as they completed the advanced class of neonatal training at the end of the first week.

Among those attending the Ceremony were: Dr Ishmael Makone, Pediatric Doctor at Princess Marina Hospital Gaborone (on behalf of the Deputy Permanente Secretary Ministry of Health) who was conducting the ceremony; Dr John Botsang, Under Deputy Permanent Secretary Clinical Services, Ministry of Health who was the first speaker; Leonard Thebe, Botswana Public Affairs National Director – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was the second speaker; Mr Solomon Sedumendi, Northern Region Senior Coordinator Immigration (on behalf of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs) who was the third and final speaker. There was also a representative of the Botswana Commissioner of Police Service, Representative of the City of Francistown Mayor, and Mission President Wilson and his wife Loujean from the Botswana-Namibia Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

All medical team members are certified practitioners and instructors in Neonatal Resuscitation by the American Academy of Pediatrics, and have provided neonatal training throughout many countries in Latin America, Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. 

This medical team consisted of Dr. Johnnie Cook, Family Practice Physician at Intermountain Health Care (Layton, UT) & Head of Family Practice Services at McKay Dee Hospital, Ogden Utah; Dr. JoAnn Abegglen, a long time Professor of Nursing at Brigham Young University, nurse practitioner, and community health nurse; Kirie Brown, Newborn Intensive Care (NICU) nurse for more than 30 years in Idaho, & a director of newborn nurse training; Dr. Isaac C. Ferguson, a public health practitioner and international administrator for many years; Gloria B. Ferguson, a professional secretary and administrative assistant with more than ten years experience administering neonatal resuscitation training programs.  The Ferguson's coordinate NRP trainings in a variety of countries each year with medical teams.

Since 2002, over 193,000 health care workers worldwide have been trained in these life-saving techniques. Since 2006, Botswana medical personnel have been trained in these techniques through LDS Charities and Government of Botswana, Ministry of Health. The partnership is now in its second five-year stage initiated last year.

LDS Charities also provide emergency relief assistance in times of natural disasters. In addition, their primary community development programs include clean water, neonatal resuscitation training, vision care, wheelchairs, immunizations, food production, and other health programs.

Sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, LDS Charities is an application of the admonition of Jesus Christ to help others in need. The assistance LDS Charities provide is made possible by generous donations of cash and in-kind materials from members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


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