Surfactant replacement therapy (SRT) has been shown to reduce mortality and air leaks in preterm neonates from high-income countries (HICs). The safety and efficacy of SRT in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have not been systematically evaluated. The major objectives of this review were to assess the (1) efficacy and safety, and (2) feasibility and cost effectiveness of SRT in LMIC settings. We searched the following databases—MEDLINE, CENTRAL, CINAHL, EMBASE and WHOLIS using the search terms ‘surfactant’ OR ‘pulmonary surfactant’. Both experimental and observational studies that enrolled preterm neonates with or at-risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and required surfactant (animal-derived or synthetic) were included. A total of 38 relevant studies were found; almost all were from level-3 neonatal units. Pooled analysis of two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 22 observational studies showed a significant reduction in mortality at the last available time point in neonates who received SRT (relative risk (RR) 0.67; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.57 to 0.79). There was also a significant reduction in the risk of air leaks (five studies; RR 0.51; 0.29 to 0.90). One RCT and twelve observational studies reported the risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) with contrasting results; while the RCT and most before-after/cohort studies showed a significant reduction or no effect, the majority of the case-control studies demonstrated significantly higher odds of receiving SRT in neonates who developed BPD. Two studies—one RCT and one observational—found no difference in the proportion of neonates developing pulmonary hemorrhage, while another observational study reported a higher incidence in those receiving SRT. The failure rate of the intubate-surfactant-extubate (InSurE) technique requiring mechanical ventilation or referral varied from 34 to 45% in four case-series. No study reported on the cost effectiveness of SRT. Available evidence suggests that SRT is effective, safe and feasible in level-3 neonatal units and has the potential to reduce neonatal mortality and air leaks in low-resource settings as well. However, there is a need to generate more evidence on the cost effectiveness of SRT and its effect on BPD in LMIC settings.