Church training in Nigeria aims to curb infant mortality

State governor commends the Church for Helping Babies Breathe program

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided a five-day training on neonatal resuscitation in July in Nigeria.

Through the Helping Babies Breathe training, around 40 doctors, nurses and midwives in the Enugu State learned new skills to help infants in the first few moments after birth.

The Church provides this training in high-risk countries with the goal of reducing infant mortality rates.

Dr. Fred Langeland, program director in the Church’s Humanitarian Services department, led the July 17-21 training. The medical professionals who participated were also trained to become trainers themselves — they will take their newly gained knowledge and experience back to their local hospitals and train others in these techniques.

“We use ‘step-down cascade’ training,” Langeland said. “We will continue to provide support in whatever ways are necessary. Past results have shown that our joint efforts can decrease infant mortality by 50% in areas where these techniques are understood and used.”

Dr Fred Langeland speaks with doctors, midwives and nurses about neonatal resuscitation techniques in Nigeria.
Dr. Fred Langeland, program director for the Church’s Humanitarian Services, provides Helping Babies Breathe training in Enugu State, Nigeria, July 17-21, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

At the conclusion of the training, many of the students spoke about how valuable and important the training was for them and their patients, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.

Dr. Obinna Nduaguba was ready to use the new techniques in his hospital and to train others.

“Trainings of this nature are so important,” he said and added, “This is truly at the heart of the survival of our mothers and children.”

Elder Chimaroke G. Udeichi, an Area Seventy in the Africa West Area, commended the Enugu State government and the participants for attending the training, and stressed the need for them to go into rural areas where the mortality rates are high.

“Our goal is for this to be successful in Enugu State and throughout Nigeria. We will continue to monitor the maternal and infant mortality rates to make sure that we are jointly making a difference. If needed, we can repeat this exercise,” Elder Udeichi said.

The deputy governor of Enugu State, Barrister Ifeanyi Osai, said, “The Enugu State is delighted to work with strategic partners like the Church of Jesus Christ to ensure that residents of the state have access to health care that will help eliminate maternal and infant mortality.” 

He thanked the Church for its interventions and humanitarian programs. “We have witnessed the Church building and equipping hospitals and educational institutions throughout Nigeria.” 

Dr. Fred Langeland trains doctors, nurses, and midwives in Enugu State, Nigeria.
Dr. Fred Langeland, program director for the Church’s Humanitarian Services, trains doctors, nurses and midwives in Enugu State, Nigeria, July 17-21, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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