Lisa McCarthy Clark | October 2015
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Presentation at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference, October 19, 2015

Neonatal mortality continues to be a significant global health problem. The first day of life is the most dangerous day for mothers and babies everywhere, especially in Africa. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 million newborns die on their birthday, many from birth asphyxia. In Sudan, the population is 31 million with a birth rate is 36/1000 and a neonatal mortality rate of 41/1000 of live births. The Sudanese Federal Health Ministry estimates that 80% of births occur at home in rural communities and may be assisted by the village midwife (VMW).   The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) is an educational program for resource-limited areas to teach the VMW to provide care to the newborn in first minute of life. This is to keep the infant warm and to assist newborns who are stillborn or struggle to breathe at birth. The Sudanese government along with professional stakeholders created a strategic framework (2009) for reducing neonatal mortality.   In 2013, with the Irish-Sudanese partnership the national roll-out of HBB began with a plan for community training through the Continuous Professional Development Centre (CPDC). Over the past two years HBB Master Trainers (333) and Providers (1416) have been instructed throughout the 17 states of Sudan. The VMW’s have expressed high satisfaction with teaching and learning experiences in the HBB courses. Progress in Sudan has been limited.   While the partnership is successful, politically Sudan is confronted by many challenges internally and externally with ongoing HBB training.   A SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis to identify the needs, commitments and resources needed for local and regional training was conducted.   We identify barriers and strengths, to assist the next stages of training and dissemination, to include centralization of training and integration of HBB into VMW practice.