Neonatal resuscitation in global health settings: an examination of the past to prepare for the future

Pediatr Res. 2017 Aug;82(2):194-200. doi: 10.1038/pr.2017.48. Epub 2017 May 24.


As rates of childhood mortality decline, neonatal deaths account for nearly half of under-5 deaths worldwide. Intrapartum-related events (birth asphyxia) contribute to approximately one-quarter of neonatal deaths, many of which can be prevented by simple resuscitation and newborn care interventions. This paper reviews various lines of research that have influenced the global neonatal resuscitation landscape. A brief situational analysis of asphyxia-related newborn mortality in low-resource settings is linked to renewed efforts to reduce neonatal mortality in the Every Newborn Action Plan. Possible solutions to gaps in care are identified. Building on international scientific evidence, tests of educational efficacy, and community-based trials established the feasibility and effectiveness of training in resource-limited settings and identified successful implementation strategies. Implementation of neonatal resuscitation programs has been shown to decrease intrapartum stillbirth rates and early neonatal mortality. Challenges remain with respect to provider competencies, coverage, and quality of interventions. The combination of resuscitation science, strategies to increase educational effectiveness, and implemention of interventions with high coverage and quality has resulted in reduced rates of asphyxia-related neonatal mortality. Further efforts to improve coverage and implementation of neonatal resuscitation will be necessary to meet the 2035 goal of eliminating preventable newborn deaths.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Global Health*
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers
  • Resuscitation* / education
  • World Health Organization