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First Golden Minute for the Newborn: J&J’s Pathbreaking Neonatal Resuscitation Program in India

Johnson & Johnson has made it a mission to safeguard the wellbeing of children across the globe – and our efforts begin from the very first minute.

India has one of the highest number of neonatal mortalities in the world1, and The United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN-IGME) in 2020 published that stillbirths were concentrated in a few countries, with the greatest number in India2. Birth asphyxia – when a baby is unable to breathe at birth – is one of the major causes of infant deaths in the country3,4. Many of these infants could be saved through simple means to stimulate breathing done by a birth attendant present during labor and childbirth. Yet, today, a sizeable percentage of women still give birth at home, without the help of a healthcare professional or caregiver. There is one "golden minute" of opportunity for a baby to begin breathing outside the womb. While most babies do begin breathing on their own, many, however, will need assistance. So, the presence of skilled attendant by the mother’s side becomes vital to provide specialized care and assessment at a time when their lives are at greatest risk.

In 2009, Johnson & Johnson partnered with the Indian Academy of Pediatrics to conduct a knowledge and training program for healthcare workers and professional caregivers to reduce neonatal mortality due to asphyxia among infants. The mission is to educate healthcare workers on prompt and skilled resuscitation to help infants survive the neonatal period and create a program with critical thinking skills that promotes lifelong learning and knowledge. Ultimately, Johnson & Johnson’s goal is to have a trained worker present at every birth in India.

Today, over 180,000 out of the 200,000 targeted professional caregivers have been trained under Johnson & Johnson’s First Golden Minute Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), making it the largest child survival project to be executed in India.

Vikas Srivastava, Managing Director, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health India, says “This program is the collective result of our commitments to define a sustainable system for neonatal and infant care, enable last-mile healthcare delivery and leverage critical local partnerships to make a real difference,” he adds.

The evidence that NRP can be one of the effective ways is there already – India’s infant mortality rate has seen a steady decline, reaching 28 deaths per 1000 live births in 2019 from 47 deaths per 1000 live births when the program was first initiated in 20095.

In 2018, Johnson & Johnson invested ₹17 million in the program, training an additional 6,500 Indian healthcare workers on methods to help babies suffering from asphyxia, in addition to training programs and workshops on infection prevention, hypothermia prevention, cord care, breastfeeding, and other facets of newborn care.

At Johnson and Johnson we believe a good health is the foundation of a good life – and that starts at birth itself.

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1 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/newborns-reducing-mortality accessed on 4th December 2020
2 https://childmortality.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/UN-IGME-2020-Stillbirth-Report.pdf accessed on 4th December 2020
3 https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/reproductive-health/maternal-health/rmncah-fs-ind.pdf?sfvrsn=31c72b06_2 accessed on 4th December 2020
4 https://www.unicef.org/india/what-we-do/newborn-and-child-health accessed on 4th December 2020
5 https://data.unicef.org/resources/data_explorer/unicef_f/?ag=UNICEF&df=GLOBAL_DATAFLOW&ver=1.0&dq=IND.CME_MRY0.&startPeriod=1970&endPeriod=2020
accessed on 4th December 2020