Frequent brief on-site simulation training and reduction in 24-h neonatal mortality—An educational intervention study

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Aim of the study “Helping Babies Breathe” (HBB) is a simulation-based educational program developed to help reduce perinatal mortality worldwide. A one-day HBB training course did not improve clinical management of neonates. The objective was to assess the impact of frequent brief (3–5 min weekly) on-site HBB simulation training on newborn resuscitation practices in the delivery room and the potential impact on 24-h neonatal mortality.

Methods Before/after educational intervention study in a rural referral hospital in Northern Tanzania. Baseline data was collected from 01.02.2010 to 31.01.2011 and post-intervention data from 01.02.2011 to 31.01.2012. All deliveries were observed by research assistants who recorded information about labor, newborn delivery room management, perinatal characteristics, and neonatal outcomes. A newborn simulator was placed in the labor ward and frequent brief HBB simulation training was implemented on-site; 3-min of weekly paired practice, assisted by local-trainers. Local-trainers also facilitated 40-min monthly re-trainings. Outcome measures were; delivery room management of newborns and 24-h neonatal outcomes (normal, admitted to a neonatal area, death, or stillbirths).

Results There were 4894 deliveries pre and 4814 post-implementation of frequent brief simulation training. The number of stimulated neonates increased from 712(14.5%) to 785(16.3%) (p = 0.016), those suctioned increased from 634(13.0%) to 762(15.8%) (p ≤ 0.0005). Neonates receiving bag mask ventilation decreased from 357(7.3%) to 283(5.9%) (p = 0.005). Mortality at 24-h decreased from 11.1/1000 to 7.2/1000 (p = 0.040).

Conclusion On-site, brief and frequent HBB simulation training appears to facilitate transfer of new knowledge and skills into clinical practice and to be accompanied by a decrease in neonatal mortality.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.