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This blog was co-authored by Bina Valsangkar, Stella Abwao, and Alyssa Om’Iniabohs. Photo Credit: Ida Neuman from Laerdal.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed several newborn care modules under the Helping Babies Survive (HBS) series to assist healthcare providers everywhere, especially in low-resource settings, to deliver consistent, quality care for newborns. Essential Care for Every Baby (ECEB) is one module within the HBS package (ECEB, Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), and Care of the Small Baby). Learner workbooks and flipcharts are designed with an emphasis on clear and simple illustrations, case scenarios, checklists, and algorithms that direct the provider in caring for the newborn beginning immediately after birth. Consistent, user-friendly materials, is a key strength of ECEB and the HBS series.

ECEB responds to a need for a user-friendly training module to complement the existing WHO-UNICEF essential newborn care curriculum. The components of essential newborn care – ensuring warmth, immediate skin-to-skin care, early breastfeeding, umbilical cord care, eye care, Vitamin K administration, and immunization, are already incorporated into national guidelines, protocols and training materials. These components are routinely addressed in pre-service and in-service trainings for health care workers. ECEB does not necessarily aim to teach a new skill set to newborn care providers; rather, its purpose is to reinforce skills and build confidence. ECEB is not intended to replace existing in-country materials, but rather, complements what is already available. Countries have the option to adopt the ECEB materials or use them to augment their existing essential newborn care materials. ECEB takes what providers are already doing and helps them do it better.

The AAP is working with development partners and programs such as USAID/Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) and Save the Children to introduce ECEB to health providers and policy-makers in countries with a high burden of newborn deaths. In May 2014, USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP) and the Laerdal Global Health Foundation, in collaboration with the AAP and other partners, hosted a four-day regional workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to introduce and provide training for ECEB to participants from the Africa region. Countries already implementing HBB at scale shared their experiences and the potential use for ECEB. A total of 85 people attended the workshop, including ECEB trainers from AAP and represented countries, Ministry of Health representatives, national trainers, representatives of professional medical and midwifery associations, and implementing partners. A total of 55 participants from the following countries were trained as ECEB Master Trainers: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and USA. After the workshop, participants are working with government and development and implementing partners to strategize how ECEB may become a part of newborn training. A similar ECEB workshop is planned for the Asia region in 2015.

ECEB and the HBS series have the potential to help countries realize their goals within the Every Newborn Action Plan and improve the quality of newborn care and neonatal outcomes.