“Church Aid Programs Saving Lives Worldwide,” Ensign, Apr. 2008, 79
One of the central pillars of the humanitarian aid program of the Church—training medical staff and birth attendants how to resuscitate oxygen-deprived babies at birth—has saved the lives of more than 400,000 infants in developing countries.
Neonatal resuscitation training is just one of the major initiatives on which Church Humanitarian Services focuses. Others are water projects, wheelchair distribution, and vision treatment training.
According to Humanitarian Services, courses designed to instruct medical professionals and birth attendants how to reduce infant deaths caused by birth asphyxia (lack of oxygen) were taught in 23 countries in 2007.
In a six-month time period last year, 176 neonatal resuscitation medical personnel were trained in Ukraine alone.
“When just one physician is trained, he or she will go on to train others, which in the long run turns into thousands of lives being saved,” Dean Walker, manager of major initiatives for Humanitarian Services, said.
The humanitarian initiative program is carried out largely by volunteers. In the case of neonatal resuscitation, doctors, nurses, therapists, and other specialized medical professionals take time out of their regular schedules to train those in other countries.
With the close of 2007, year-end figures for Humanitarian Services show major activity in several areas of emphasis in addition to the work of saving babies at birth.
Some 950,000 people benefited from clean water projects, 60,537 wheelchairs were distributed, and 9,100 people received vision treatment.
A 2007 year-end review by Humanitarian Services also shows that the Church’s relief efforts for those areas affected by the 2004 tsunami were continuing three years later. The Church has assisted in building 16 schools, 902 homes, and 3 community centers. Victims were given new equipment, such as sewing machines and fishing boats, to provide jobs for local people. Hospitals were given vital medical equipment, and schools received computers.