Hoping in Life’s First Breath
As a nurse in Bejing, Wang Lixin has helped mothers bring their babies into the world. She also has seen tragedy unfold while a baby boy or girl turns blue and lifeless, unable to take life’s first breath.
In many parts of the world simple advances in infant care at birth have largely solved this issue. But in China, where couples are allowed only one child, hopes that rest entirely with each newborn are dashed as still thousands of infants die unnecessary early deaths each year, or develop heartbreaking disabilities due to lack of oxygen in their first, critical moments.
A Powerful Partnership with Johnson & Johnson
In the wake of such heartbreak, The Chinese Ministry of Health and the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, L.L.C. (JJPI), with the support of the Johnson & Johnson affiliates in China, developed a powerful partnership to protect life's first breath.
The Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NPR) has been widely successful in a short period of time. In just few years the program has trained health care professionals in more than 6,400 hospitals in over 800 counties in 20 provinces, saving the lives of countless babies who would have otherwise died. The Chinese name for the program is “Freedom of Breath – Fountain of Life.” The partnership chose this name because it puts into words the wish that all babies breathe freely at birth.
The ‘Fountain of Life’ Flows From City to City
“The first time we did the training, the group left the room completely enthusiastic about training others…and that’s part of the magic,” says May Li, manager, JJPI in Shanghai. “When a nurse sees baby after baby live instead of dying, she finds herself volunteering to go anywhere, to teach anyone.” In its first two years, excitement about the program has helped it exceed the goal set for the five-year mark.
Wang Lixin learned critical infant rescue skills and became a National Trainer as part of the NRP. She travels voluntarily to remote cities to teach infant rescue skills, and shows nurses how to work with portable, infant-sized oxygen tents. She has personally trained more than 200 nurses. The National Training Team has trained more than 27,000 health care professionals countrywide who have fanned out across the nation, voluntarily training one another in succession. Eventually, the goal is to have a trained person at every birth in China.
A Trained Nurse at Yang Yang’s Birth Makes All the Difference
When Wang Lixin’s friend Liu Jia was having her baby, Yang Yang did not breathe on his own. But Yang Yang is one of the lucky ones because Wang Lixin was there to help him breathe.
“Yang Yang is the future of our family,” says Liu Jia, “We’re so thankful for the trained team that knew exactly what to do when he was born and did not breathe.” Her son Yang Yang is now a healthy and happy toddler.
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