Newborn Resuscitation Training Programmes Reduce Early Neonatal Mortality

Neonatology. 2016;110(3):210-24. doi: 10.1159/000443875. Epub 2016 May 25.


Background: Substantial health care resources are expended on standardised formal neonatal resuscitation training (SFNRT) programmes, but their effectiveness has not been proven.

Objectives: To determine whether SFNRT programmes reduce neonatal mortality and morbidity, improve acquisition and retention of knowledge and skills, or change teamwork and resuscitation behaviour.

Methods: We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, PREMEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science and the Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials, ongoing trials and conference proceedings in April 2015, and included randomised or quasi-randomised trials that reported at least one of our specified outcomes.

Results: SFNRT in low- and middle-income countries decreased early neonatal mortality [risk ratio (RR) 0.85 (95% CI 0.75-0.96)]; the number needed to treat for benefit [227 (95% CI 122-1,667; 3 studies, 66,162 participants, moderate-quality evidence)], and 28-day mortality [RR 0.55 (95% CI 0.33-0.91); 1 study, 3,355 participants, low-quality evidence]. Decreasing trends were noted for late neonatal mortality [RR 0.47 (95% CI 0.20-1.11)] and perinatal mortality [RR 0.94 (95% CI 0.87-1.00)], but there were no differences in fresh stillbirths [RR 1.05 (95% CI 0.93-1.20)]. Teamwork training with simulation increased the frequency of teamwork behaviour [mean difference (MD) 2.41 (95% CI 1.72-3.11)] and decreased resuscitation duration [MD -149.54 (95% CI -214.73 to -84.34); low-quality evidence, 2 studies, 130 participants].

Conclusions: SFNRT in low- and middle-income countries reduces early neonatal mortality, but its effects on birth asphyxia and neurodevelopmental outcomes remain uncertain. Follow-up studies suggest normal neurodevelopment in resuscitation survivors.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / therapy
  • Developing Countries
  • Education / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Morbidity
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Resuscitation / education*
  • Simulation Training
  • World Health Organization