A one-day "Helping Babies Breathe" course improves simulated performance but not clinical management of neonates

Resuscitation. 2013 Oct;84(10):1422-7. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2013.04.005. Epub 2013 Apr 21.


Objective: "Helping Babies Breathe" (HBB) is a simulation-based one-day course developed to help reduce neonatal mortality globally. The study objectives were to (1) determine the effect on practical skills and management strategies among providers using simulations seven months after HBB training, and (2) describe neonatal management in the delivery room during the corresponding time period before/after a one-day HBB training in a rural Tanzanian hospital.

Methods: The one-day HBB training was conducted by Tanzanian master instructors in April 2010. Two simulation scenarios; "routine care" and "neonatal resuscitation" were performed by 39 providers before (September 2009) and 27 providers after (November 2010) the HBB training. Two independent raters scored the videotaped scenarios. Overall "pass/fail" performance and different skills were assessed. During the study time period (September 2009-November 2010) no HBB re-trainings were conducted, no local ownership was established, and no HBB action plans were implemented in the labor ward to facilitate transfer and sustainability of performance in the delivery room at birth. Observational data on neonatal management before (n=2745) and after (n=3116) the HBB training was collected in the delivery room by observing all births at the hospital during the same time period.

Results: The proportion of providers who "passed" the simulated "routine care" and "neonatal resuscitation" scenarios increased after HBB training; from 41 to 74% (p=0.016) and from 18 to 74% (p≤0.0001) respectively. However, the number of babies being suctioned and/or ventilated at birth did not change, and the use of stimulation in the delivery room decreased after HBB training.

Conclusion: Birth attendants in a rural hospital in Tanzania performed significantly better in simulated neonatal care and resuscitation seven months after one day of HBB training. This improvement did not transfer into clinical practice.

Keywords: Helping Babies Breathe; Kirkpatrick model; Neonatal mortality; Neonatal resuscitation; Simulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Resuscitation / education*
  • Tanzania
  • Time Factors