Peter Cardellichio | October 2015
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Presentation at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference, October 19, 2015

Background: Of all preventive interventions, breastfeeding has the greatest potential impact on child survival, yet only 40% of babies in the developing world are exclusively breastfed. Breastfeeding is a learned skill where guidance in the first days can greatly impact breastfeeding success. However health workers often lack the skills needed to guide new mothers. Inadequately supported, many mothers start giving breastmilk substitutes with all the attendant risks. Breastfeeding is a skill that is best taught by observing. High-quality videos provide an extraordinary opportunity to train health workers and teach mothers in a way they can follow and put into practice right in the first hours and days after birth—just in time to impact exclusive breastfeeding rates.

Methodology: Global Health Media Project is developing 15 clear, step-by-step teaching videos on the “why” and “how” of breastfeeding for new mothers. The videos follow international guidelines, are reviewed by lactation experts, and intended for use worldwide. The success of the videos will be measured by: 1) key performance indicators covering distribution and training statistics reported by organizations downloading the videos; 2) a small-scale evaluation using pre-post tests to measure the improvement in learning, knowledge retention, and breastfeeding observation among breastfeeding educators, along with focus group discussions.

Results:  The videos are expected to reach millions of mothers worldwide by leveraging the influence and reach of global health networks and extensive use of social media networks. This presentation will provide performance indicators after the first few months of distribution, and the results of the evaluation done in Malaysia in May-July.

Conclusion: Improving breastfeeding knowledge and skills has the potential to significantly reduce the newborn mortality rate for newborns. Teaching videos on breastfeeding are being developed and evaluated based on key performance indicators, and quantitative and qualitative evaluation of breastfeeding peer educators in Malaysia.