News Release

State Governor in Nigeria Commends Church for Efforts to Curb Infant Mortality  

Church Provides Five-day 'Helping Babies Breathe' Training in Enugu, Nigeria

Doctors, nurses, and midwifes in the Enugu State, Nigeria, participated in a five-day training on neonatal resuscitation provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ‘Helping Babies Breathe’ is an intensive hands-on training for medical professionals with the goal of teaching them the skills of newborn resuscitation and training them to become trainers themselves.  The Church has provided this training throughout the world with the goal of reducing infant mortality rates in countries that are highly impacted by infant death.

The Deputy Governor of the Enugu State, His Excellency Barrister Ifeanyi Osai, representing Dr. Peter Mbah, Governor, said that “the Enugu State is delighted to work with strategic partners like the Church of Jesus Christ to ensure that residents of the State have access to health care that will help eliminate maternal and infant mortality.”  He commended the Church for its, “numerous interventions and humanitarian programs.  We have witnessed the Church building and equipping hospitals and educational institutions throughout Nigeria.”  He also shared the Governor's heartfelt thanks to the Church for their role in providing these trainings.

The training, held on July 17-21, 2023 at the Nike Lake Resort in Enugu, was led by Dr. Fred Langeland, Program Director in Humanitarian Services for the Church.  The course involved intensive hands-on training for about 40 local medical professionals with the goal of teaching them the skills of newborn resuscitation and training them to become trainers themselves. They then take their newly gained knowledge and experience back to their local hospitals and train others in these techniques. At the conclusion of the training, many of the students commented about how valuable and important the training was for them and their patients.

 “We use ‘step down cascade’ training.  We have provided master training for these experts in health care, and they can then become master trainers, reaching out to primary care providers throughout the State,” said Dr. Langeland. “We will continue to provide support in whatever ways are necessary.  Past results have shown that our joint efforts can decrease infant mortality by 50% in areas where these techniques are understood and used.”

One of the participants, Dr Obinna Nduaguba, expressed delight in the new techniques that were learned and the equipment supplied. He promised that they will utilize them and train others on these new techniques. “Trainings of this nature are so important,” he said and added that,” this is truly at the heart of the survival of our mothers and children.”

Speaking at the end of the training workshop, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeany Agujobi, noted the importance of equipping their medical practitioners with the most current techniques.  “We are grateful to the Church and their inspired humanitarian efforts.  We promise to take up the charge to bring these techniques to the rural areas.”

Representing the Church was Dr. Chimaroke Udechi, an Area Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He commended the Enugu state government and the participants for taking time out to learn new trends in curbing maternal and infant mortality. He implored them to put this new knowledge into practice, stressing the need for them to go to the rural areas where the mortality rates are high. Dr Udechi said,” Our goal is for this to be successful in Enugu State and throughout Nigeria.  We will continue to monitor the maternal and infant mortality rates to make sure that we are jointly making a difference.  If needed, we can repeat this exercise.”  

The five-day training drew participants from across the state.  They were associated with training and general hospitals as well as the State Ministry of Health.  

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.