Evaluating Helping Babies Breathe: training for healthcare workers at hospitals in Rwanda

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To evaluate the educational effectiveness of the Helping Babies Breathe programme.


Knowledge of trainees from two district hospitals and one tertiary referral hospital was evaluated before and after training in 2010. A postcourse practical skills evaluation was performed on a Neonatalie Newborn Simulator. Participants underwent a re-evaluation after 3 months.


One hundred eighteen trainees completed the course. The percentages of correct answers on a written test significantly increased from 77 ± 15% to 91 ± 9% (p < 0.01) after training. The mean score obtained on a postcourse skill evaluation was 89 ± 9%; 64% of the trainees achieved passing scores. Retesting 3 months later showed that knowledge remained at the same level, while practical skills decreased to 83 ± 16%, and the pass rate dropped significantly to 43% (p < 0.01).


Healthcare workers who participate in a Helping Babies Breathe programme can significantly improve their knowledge. While such knowledge is retained for at least 3 months, skills dropped to unsatisfactory levels in that period of time, indicating the need for retraining in the interim or the acquisition of practical experience by such healthcare workers.

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