• Article

Training traditional birth attendants on the WHO Essential Newborn Care reduces perinatal mortality

Objectives. To evaluate the impact of birth attendant training using the World Health Organization Essential Newborn Care course among traditional birth attendants, with a particular emphasis on the effect of acquisition of skills on perinatal outcomes. Design. Population-based, prospective, interventional pre-post design study. Setting. 11 rural clusters in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Population. Health care providers. Methods. This study analyzed the effect of training and implementation of the ENC health care provider training course, between September 2005 and December 2006. Outcome Measures. The primary outcome measure was the rate of death from all causes in the first seven days after birth in fetuses/infants >/= 1 500g. Secondary outcome measures were overall rate of stillbirth, rate of perinatal death, which included stillbirths plus neonatal deaths in the first seven days in fetuses/infants >/= 1 500g. Results. Perinatal mortality decreased from 39.5/1 000 pre-Essential Newborn Care to 26.4 post-Essential Newborn Care (RR 0.72; 95% CI 0.54-0.97). This reduction was attributable almost entirely to a decrease in the stillbirth rate of 21.4/1 000 pre-Essential Newborn Care to 7.9/1 000 post-Essential Newborn Care (RR 0.40; 95% CI 0.25-0.64). Seven-day neonatal mortality did not decrease (18.3/1 000 to 18.6/1 000; RR 1.05; 95% CI 0.70-1.57). Conclusion. Essential Newborn Care training reduced stillbirths in a population-based controlled study with deliveries conducted almost exclusively by Traditional Birth Attendants. Scale-up of this intervention in other settings might help assess reproducibility and sustainability


Garces, A., McClure, E., Hambidge, M., Krebs, NF., Mazariegos, M., Wright, LL., ... Carlo, WA. (2012). Training traditional birth attendants on the WHO Essential Newborn Care reduces perinatal mortality. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 91(5), 593-597. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0412.2012.01374.x