Church donation in Mexico aims to save hundreds of babies’ lives

New equipment and training should decrease birth asphyxia in two Mexican states

With hopes of saving potentially 300 lives in the first year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has donated equipment and training to the Mexican states of Chiapas and Guerrero to decrease the number of birth asphyxia cases.

Birth asphyxia — when a baby does not begin breathing after birth — is one of the leading causes of death in newborns, according to the World Health Organization. The condition accounts for about 900,000 deaths around the world each year.

The Church’s donation included equipment and training for doctors and nurses on newborn resuscitation, as well as training related to caring for mothers after they give birth, reported the Church’s Mexico Newsroom.

Dr. Frank Bentley — a pediatrician who was named Utah Doctor of the Year in 2012 — traveled to Mexico with his wife, Jean Bentley, to conduct the training from Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 25-27, 2022. The couple has taught neonatal resuscitation courses organized by the Church around the world over the past two decades.

Doctors and nurses from Chiapas and Guerrero gather for newborn resuscitation training in Mexico. The training took part Oct. 18-20 and Oct. 25-27, 2022. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

At an event formalizing the donation in Mexico, Frank Bentley expressed gratitude for “the support and help of all the participants and instructors with whom we have worked since March (2022) to get these courses ready.”

Dr. Leticia Jarquin Estrada, director of public health for the State of Chiapas, and Dr. José Manuel Cruz Castellanos, secretary of health and general director of the Chiapas State Health Institute, attended the event.

Jarquin said, “We are grateful for this donation which will save many lives,” and acknowledged the presence of the doctors and nurses receiving the training. 

Cruz noted that the training took place during Doctors’ Month. He said he couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the month.

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