Helping Babies Breathe

Instructor teaching class.


Quang Tri and Thuy Thien Hue Provinces in Viet Nam
Sitagu Hospitals, Shan State in Myanmar


The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one million babies die each year from birth asphyxia (eg. inability to breathe immediately after delivery). The Helping Babies Breathe program addresses this challenge by training birth attendants in developing countries in the essential skills of newborn resuscitation, with the goal of having at least one person who is skilled in neonatal resuscitation at the birth of every baby.

Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) is an evidence-based educational program to teach neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited areas. It is an initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in collaboration with WHO, US Agency for International Development (USAID), Saving Newborn Lives, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, and a number of other global health organizations. 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 stimulate breathing.


We are supporting training courses on maternal and child health throughout central Viet Nam and Myanmar. The remote villages of those countries still have a large number of women that deliver babies at home with a traditional birth attendant or village health workers. These traditional birth attendants or health workers have not had the training on skills of newborn resuscitation. With the HBB training, we hope to greatly reduce child death from birth asphyxia.


HBB training programs were sponsored for 88 birth attendants in Huong Hoa district and Dakrong District in Quang Tri and Aluoi district in Hue with the essential skills of newborn resuscitation, with the goal of having at least one person who is skilled in neonatal resuscitation at the birth of every baby.

Additionally, this program has trained 20 people at the Huong Hoa Health Center (Khe Sanh), Dakrong Health Center and Kim Long Charity Clinic (Hue) to become HBB instructors to train new birth attendants in the area.

The program will be replicated with the addition of Essential Care for Every Baby (ECEB) with a training mission to Viet Nam and Myanmar from April 24 – May 7, 2016.


Direct to date

  • 88 traditional birth attendants
  • 20 medical professionals


  • women and their babies in Quang Tri and Thuy Thien Hue Provinces in Viet Nam.

Quote symbol.Why do I do the volunteer work? It is hard to come up with just one answer. Because I can. Because I believe I should. Because it is fun! It is how I was raised – there were always a variety of local volunteer projects that our family did when I was growing up. Small things but volunteering and helping others.
Harriet S. Hawkins, RN, CCRN, CPN, CPEN, FAEN

Quote symbol.Helping Babies Breathe is totally helpful for my health workers who live in remote villages. Dakrong is still a poor district with 80% of ethnic people and our health care system is limited. The training is essential for emergency intervention to home birth giving. I hope that GCSF continues to do more training of this types as it will benefit the grassroots villagers.
Chau Van Hien, Director of Dakrong Medical Center

Quote symbol.For a traditional birth attendant who live 20 km from the nearest clinic, it is almost impossible to bring a pregnant woman to the clinic on time for the delivery, given how difficult the road over here is. This course is just what I really need. Now I not only have the knowledge of Helping Babies Breathe but also own the tool to work. I’m so happy to have this HBB kit.
Ho Thi Coi, an ethnic minority 35-year-old birth attendant from Dakrong