Newborn resuscitation in resource-limited settings

Nalini Singhal, Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Every year, an estimated 4 million newborn infants die worldwide in the first 4 weeks of life. A large majority of these deaths occurs during the first day of life. One of the United Nations' eight Millennium Development Goals is to decrease child mortality; prevention of neonatal deaths by appropriate resuscitation will have a significant impact on achieving this goal. Newborn resuscitation needs to be carried out in all the settings where asphyxiated babies are born, including: community or domiciliary settings for home births; rural health centers/midwifery stations, where attendants with basic resuscitation skills might be available; district-level facilities where staff are available but skills vary; and urban referral and tertiary care centers. Individuals at all levels require training and seldomly used skills need to be maintained so that, when required, resuscitation can be carried out efficiently and effectively. Simple resuscitation techniques include: positioning, drying, and keeping the baby warm; assessing the heart rate, color, and respirations; recognizing the need for, and administering, assisted ventilation with a bag and mask or tube and mask. These maneuvers can be carried out with simple equipment and appropriate training. Research in developing countries remains sparse, with 90% of research being done in more developed parts of the world, which experience just 10% of the problems. The significant gaps in our understanding include: failing to agree on a definition of the term 'asphyxia', lack of knowledge of the impact of community approaches on the prevention and management of asphyxia, and a failure to recognize the best method to determine heart rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-439
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • Birth asphyxia
  • Developing countries
  • Resource-limited settings
  • Resuscitation


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