The 8 “danger signs” in the newborn

We are nearly at the end of our second course here in Liberia.  We have 2 doctors who are now helping with the facilitation of the course as well as Kola and Gertrude (one of the new neonatal practitioners).  This means that we have time to just sit and listen to some of the sessions which gives us a different perspective.  The role of the instructor is such that we facilitate a session, keeping an eye on the time, on our learners’ needs, on whether people can see the slides and hear us etc. and sometimes the actual content sort of passes us by.

One of our workshops is entitled “Recognising serious illness” and we use one of the Global Health Media videos as a teaching and discussion resource.  It talks about the 8 “danger signs” and it all makes so much sense.  These videos are truly superb.  Take a look at  But also look at the other videos on that site that are all free to download.  There are videos on caring for the preterm infant, giving an im injection, expressing breast milk, cup feeding and all sorts of other absolute gems.  Filming was done in India and Nigeria and the world owes a debt of gratitude to the families who allowed their incredibly sick babies to be filmed and to the health care workers who assessed these babies for us so clearly on film.  I shall be using the one on signs of respiratory distress in teaching sessions in the UK:

The 8 danger signs are as follows:


We have been stressing these “danger signs” during the scenario simulation sessions this afternoon.  It certainly helps our learners to concentrate on the things that matter when working through their scenario.  They are not used to this type of learning (role play with a manikin and some basic equipment) and tend to stand around the manikin talking rather than doing.

They are getting quite into it now though and I’m looking forward to the final simulation session tomorrow before their exam.  Once they get used to it, it becomes quite fun – and quite difficult to control as they all start making up the scenario for their colleagues regardless of what I’m trying to tell them is happening!  They are using their own experiences and some of what they are replaying is probably quite cathartic in an environment where a “team debrief” after an unsuccessful resuscitation is pie in the sky.


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