Medics get knitting to save lives of newborns

Leeds Dental Institute staff with their knitting
Leeds Dental Institute staff with their knitting
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a generous Leeds doctor taught himself to knit in order to save the lives of newborns in Africa.

Now John Ahn, along with other kindhearted staff at Leeds Dental Institute, have got their needles going and set up a knitting group to produce garments for babies in two African countries.

Infants in the developing world are at risk of hypothermia after their birth, which can prove fatal, and there is a major shortage of suitable clothes and blankets for them.

John, senior house officer in restorative dentistry, said: “All newborn babies in Africa are at risk of hypothermia which can lead to increased risk of infections and death.

“Simply covering the baby’s head with a knitted hat and the body with a blanket can maintain a baby’s body temperature, thus reduce the risk of death caused by hypothermia.

After being moved by their plight, he decided to teach himself to knit using books and videos on YouTube.

He added: “Last year I started to knit hats in response to the high infant mortality in Africa, then organised a knitting club at the Leeds Dental Institute early this year.

“We now have staff from various departments in the group and come together once a week to knit hats, blankets, jumpers and teddy bears for babies in Kenya and Uganda.

“Furthermore, a lot of staff family members have supported us from home by sending in additional clothing. We are now hoping to expand the charity group so that more babies could have a much better chance of surviving hypothermia.”

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