Jhpiego’s mission to end preventable deaths of mothers and babies doesn’t begin and end with pregnancy and childbirth. It carries through those first 2 years of life to ensure that children not only have a healthy start, but also grow and thrive to reach their fifth birthday and beyond.
The Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP), led by Jhpiego, is the U.S. government’s flagship program to keep mothers, newborns and children alive and healthy. Among the lifesaving interventions shared through MCSP’s global work are techniques to resuscitate a newborn who isn’t breathing. In nine countries, more than 23,000 babies who weren’t breathing or crying at birth were successfully resuscitated with MCSP’s support.
MCSP’s efforts reflect Jhpiego’s innovative work in emergency obstetric and newborn care. Nurses and midwives learn up-to-date skills in helping babies breathe and practice on true-to-life models that simulate the experience of resuscitating a baby.
Also, as a part of Jhpiego’s prevention work, health care providers in Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan began using chlorhexidine, an antiseptic gel to prevent umbilical cord infection. A strategy to introduce and expand use of chlorhexidine for cord care across Pakistan was a first for the country. The infection prevention practice is not only offered in larger health facilities, but is also used by midwives in small health centers and delivered to mothers at home by lay health workers. In Afghanistan, community health workers explain to families the urgency of replacing unproven traditional remedies for cord care with chlorhexidine to keep their babies healthy.
MCSP’s advocacy in Nigeria led to chlorhexidine being added to the country’s list of essential medicines as part of the government’s ongoing efforts to reduce life-threatening infections among newborns. To this end, midwives in local health centers and community health workers are encouraging new mothers to use the topical treatment at home.