According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, a million newborn babies die every year because they cannot breathe immediately after they are born. This includes newborn babies in Ghana, a country listed by UNICEF as having a high rate of mortality under the age of five, with 78 of 1,000 infants dying at birth in 2013.
Fortunately, with some assistance, nearly 90 percent of these babies can survive through simple-but-crucial lifesaving techniques, such as using bag-mask ventilation. Through this method, midwives at the New Abirem Government Hospital near Newmont’s Akyem mine in Ghana have saved the lives of 108 babies out of the 124 who needed assistance to breathe throughout the last year. A total of 833 live births were recorded at the hospital between August 2014 and July 2015. Dr. Osei Bonsu, Medical Superintendent of New Abirem, confirmed these statistics at the recently held Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program, sponsored by Newmont through Project C.U.R.E.
During the HBB program, specialists from Project C.U.R.E. teach primary healthcare givers, including midwives and community health nurses, how to effectively use the bag-mask ventilation method and other basic lifesaving techniques to resuscitate babies who have difficulty breathing shortly after birth. Over the past two years, Project C.U.R.E. has trained 47 health personnel in the New Abirem district alone. These health professionals now serve as practitioners and ambassadors of the HBB program.
To ensure that the nurses apply these skills effectively, sets of the bag-mask ventilation system, reusable suction devices and other equipment are donated to the health facilities that the team visits. Project C.U.R.E. also leaves behind training kits, educational workbooks and newborn mannequins to help senior nurses pass along their skills to students.
For more about Newmont’s commitments to the communities where we operate, take a look at our sustainability report, Beyond the Mine.