News Story

Saving Babies Lives in Lesotho

A training program to save new-born babies’ lives was held in Teyateyaneng, Lesotho, May 19-21. LDS Charities, in partnership with UNICEF and the Lesotho Ministry of Health, presented the “Helping Babies Breathe” (HBB) program.

Forty-four nurses, midwives and educators participated in a training program to save new-born babies’ lives in Teyateyaneng, Lesotho, May 19-21.  LDS Charities ( in partnership with UNICEF and the Lesotho Ministry of Health presented the “Helping Babies Breathe” (HBB) program. (

LDS Charities is the humanitarian branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is dedicated to helping the poor and needy around the world.

Worldwide, about 10% of all infants are born with some type of respiratory distress.  The objective of HBB is to train birth attendants in developing countries on the essential skills of new-born resuscitation, with the goal of having at least one person trained in neonatal resuscitation present at the birth of each baby.

LDS Charities not only provided the professional staff to do the instruction, but also provided each trainee with a new-born mannequin and other essential equipment to take back to their districts to train other birth attendants. 

Dr Victor Ankrah, Child Survival Development Specialist with UNICEF, said, “When you travel to remote parts of this country you see the need for this great program.”  He indicated that there is a UNICEF mandate for those who received this training to go back to their districts and train others.  He stated, “The goal is to take the knowledge and techniques learned here to every nook and cranny of the country.”

Dr Nwako Azubuike Benjamin, Senior Technical Advisor on Child Health for the Ministry of Health, who participated in the program quoted an old Chinese proverb referring to the hands-on training, “Tell me, I will forget.  Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I will understand.”  He also said, “This is a very good program, I encourage you to keep it going.”

The closing ceremony was attended by The Honorable Liteboho Kompi, Deputy Minister of Health, who not only addressed the group to express her appreciation for them and their efforts, but also personally passed out Certificates of Completion to each participant.

A key concept of HBB is ‘The Golden Minute’.  Within one minute of birth a baby should be breathing well or should be ventilated with a bag and mask.  The Golden Minute identifies the steps that a birth attendant must take immediately after birth to evaluate the baby and to stimulate breathing.

Dr Ankrah estimated that there are approximately 55,000 pregnancies in Lesotho each year.  With each trainee going back to their medical facility and training others, the ripple effect will carry on throughout Lesotho and many babies’ lives will be saved.

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