News Release

Neonatal Training Saves European Lives

Mormon couple trains local doctors in Bosnia and Herzegovina

In November 2017, Dr. George Bennett and his wife Marcia provided neonatal training to doctors in Bosnia and Herzegovina as volunteers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Bennetts are part of a dedicated team representing LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, that provides maternal, newborn and neonatal resuscitation all over the world. Over the last 30 years, LDS Charities has partnered with over 200 volunteer professionals and 80 full-time humanitarian aid missionaries to accomplish these trainings.


Since joining the cause in 2004, the Bennetts, who are from the United States, have given neonatal resuscitation training in Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. During their most recent trip to Europe, they trained local doctors in the cities of Sarajevo and Banja Luka.

“This will be the first neonatal resuscitation training conducted in these cities in several years,” says Dionne Newton, a humanitarian aid missionary for the Church serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We have been amazed at the impact this project has had. It saves lives!”

Newton’s husband Dennis agrees, affirming that, “the staff of medical professionals, along with the Bennetts, have been very instrumental in the success of the program. The significant decrease in infant mortality in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a testament to the effectiveness of the training.”

For this project, the Bennetts partnered with the Association of Neonatologists and Intensivists of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with the Red Cross of Sarajevo. “Our colleagues in both regions have been diligent over the years, teaching and inspiring each other and their students,” says Marcia Bennett, “and we are honored to work with them.”

Professor Mark Underwood, Chief of Neonatology at the University of California Davis, joined the Bennetts as their medical director. Underwood was very grateful for the opportunity to participate, stating, “What a blessing it has been for me.”

LDS Charities’ neonatal, newborn and maternal care programs train in-country medical personnel who teach their communities, creating a self-sustaining culture of life-saving practices. The training also builds confidence in community medical staffs. According to LDS Charities’ website, “These projects have been highly successful with continuous training in many delivery facilities.” In 2016, LDS Charities gave training in 37 countries, serving 33,000 people.

“We partner closely with the American Academy of Pediatrics and use their medical textbooks,” explains Dr. Bennett, a retired anesthesiologist. “We provide these textbooks, translated into the local language, in every country where we give training. We also donate training manikins, resuscitation bags and masks to all participating facilities so that practice can continue.”

Dr. George and Marcia Bennett continue to train medical personnel as part of LDS Charities, assisting in six to eight countries a year. According to Marcia Bennett, the couple considers themselves fortunate to be associated with a program that makes such a difference in the world.

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