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First Embrace gives newborns a good start in life

Update: August, 18/2017 - 09:00
The First Embrace programme was introduced on Thursday in Đà Nẵng at the second biennial meeting on accelerating progress in early essential newborn care. — VNS Photo Công Thành
Viet Nam News

ĐÀ  NẴNG — All 63 provinces and close to 9,000 staff have been coached since the country launched the early essential newborn care (EENC) programme in 2015. In addition, around 78 per cent of term babies receive skin-to-skin contact and are exclusively breastfed in the immediate newborn period.

The results were announced at the second biennial meeting on accelerating progress in early essential newborn care in Đà Nẵng on Thursday.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also called on participating countries – Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Việt Nam – to redouble efforts at improving maternal and newborn care in order to save the lives of millions of newborn infants at risks of death at birth.

According to a report released at a press conference on the event, a newborn baby dies every two minutes in the Western Pacific region due to early separation from mothers at birth, and newborn babies are exposed to hypothermia and hospital-acquired infection as they do not benefit from skin-to-skin contact.

Experts also warned that babies are often given infant formula instead of breast milk, which increases the risk of infection, malnutrition and death. Meanwhile, early initiation of breastfeeding and colostrum, as well as breastfeeding, have been scientifically verified to benefit babies.

The core of EENC is the First Embrace – immediate and thorough drying after birth followed by skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breastfeeding.

First Embrace keeps babies calm, stimulates breathing and prevents hypothermia, as well as reducing anaemia and brain haemorrhage.

Dr Nguyễn Thị Lợi, deputy director of Đà Nẵng Women’s Hospital, said skin-to-skin has been implemented at the hospital since 2014, and no baby deaths were recorded there between 2016 and the first half of 2017.

“Nearly 99.7 per cent of mothers giving birth at our hospital offer breastfeeding, and babies often increase their weight with one kilogram every month,” Lợi said.

“We really ensure that newborn babies have a peaceful sleep on their mothers’ breast, while mothers ease their physical pain with a lovely embracing of babies,” she said. She added that infection rarely occurred with babies at the hospital since the EENC was launched there in 2015.

Lợi also said the hospital, the first private heath service in Đà Nẵng, has offered non-profit maternity service in central Việt Nam.

According to WHO, EENC has been introduced in 17 countries, benefiting four million newborns annually with improved care. — VNS


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