“Stop suction of babies as part of resuscitation”
One of the door knocks on my office yesterday (August 1) was followed by the entry of Prof. Thorkild Tylleskar of Bergen University in Norway. A paediatrician in Norway and supervisor to tens of Ugandan PhD students and post docs over the years, Prof. Tylleskar is a regular visitor to Makerere University and one of our most important collaborators.
Prof. Tylleskar just wanted to say hi and that wouldnâ€™t have been a big deal but the discussion that followed in the couple of minutes he was inside my office is what makes our chat a big deal worth sharing with you.
He told me that one of his students has videotaped tens of babies being resuscitated in a major Ugandan, and analysed the quality and outcome. What they have seen is too much routine resuscitation and very limited bugging. According to Prof. Tylleskar, apart from babies with meconium aspiration, there is no role for suction.
I will reproduce verbatim the rest of his insightful words of wisdom thus:
“Babies who are not breathing should have bugging immediately in order to open up their lungs so that they receive oxygen, that is all they need. There is no fluid that needs to be suctioned out from the babies before delivering oxygen.
â€œIf I were a manager of a Ugandan hospital I would focus on saving term babies with difficult breathing or birth asphyxia. They have all they need to survive, except that they are not breathing. Twenty minutes of work on such a baby saves the baby and the baby is able to survive by him or herself, as opposed to preterm babies whom we tend to focus on and they need extra care for a long time.
â€œIt is important for Paediatricians to be present 24 hours a day in the labour suits of hospitals and they will help save many babies, and also empower midwives.â€
I must say Prof. Tylleskar raises critical issues. Get back to us via the email firstname.lastname@example.org with your say on the professorâ€™s line of thought?