High levels of neonatal mortality and lack of access to neonatal health care are widespread problems in developing countries. A field trial of home-based neonatal care (HBNC) was conducted in rural Gadchiroli, India to develop and test the feasibility of a low-cost approach of delivering primary neonatal care by using the human potential available in villages, and to evaluate its effect on neonatal mortality. In the first half of this article we summarize various aspects of the field trial, presented in the previous 11 articles in this issue of the journal supplement. The background, objectives, study design and interventions in the field trial and the results over 10 years (1993 to 2003) are presented. Based on these results, the hypotheses are tested and conclusions presented. In the second half, we discuss the next questions: can it be replicated? Can this intervention become a part of primary health-care services? What is the cost and the cost-effectiveness of HBNC? The limitations of the approach, the settings where HBNC might be relevant and the management pre-requisites for its scaling up are also discussed. The need to develop an integrated approach is emphasized. A case for newborn care in the community is made for achieving equity in health care.