Bringing Hope to Zambian Mothers
Training of birth attendants intended to reduce high infant mortality rate| From Commonwealth | By Robin Berghaus
Get the Flash Player to see this media.
Click on the slide show above to learn about BU’s efforts to train traditional birth attendants in Zambia
When she arrived at the Mindolo Training Farms in the Copperbelt province of Zambia last year, Anna Knapp was greeted by sixty traditional birth attendants (TBAs) who were singing and dancing. The Zambians had good reason to celebrate: Knapp, a senior program manager at Boston University’s Center for International Health and Development (CIHD), had come to work on the center’s Lufwanyama Neonatal Survival Project (LUNESP), a study that aims to reduce the country’s high infant mortality rate and increase the chances that Zambian children will live past their first birthday.
LUNESP trains birth attendants to intervene in four of the most common, preventable contributors to neonatal mortality: birth asphyxia, neonatal hypothermia, sepsis, and perinatal transmission of HIV.
“The birth attendants often travel for days by foot, bicycle, on the backs of trucks – any way they can – to get to the LUNESP trainings,” says Knapp (SPH’07).
Since the inception of the study, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics, seven LUNESP faculty and staff from the CIHD, Boston Medical Center, and Tufts Medical Center have participated from Boston or traveled to Zambia to work alongside twenty-nine Zambian staff members. With assistance from the Center for International Health and Development Zambia as well as the Lufwanyama District Health Management Team, the LUNESP team has trained 129 TBAs, as well as 16 data collectors and 12 staff members from rural health centers.