Helping Babies Survive Training Programs: Evaluating a Teaching Cascade in Ethiopia
Background: 2.6 million neonates die annually; the vast majority of deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Helping Babies Survive (HBS) programs are commonly used in LMICs to reduce neonatal mortality through education. They are typically disseminated using a train-the-trainer cascade. However, there is little published literature on the extent and cost of dissemination. In 2015, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and partner organizations implemented a countrywide HBS training cascade for midwives in 169 hospitals.
Methods: We quantified the extent of HBS dissemination, and characterized barriers that impeded successful hospital-based training by surveying a representative from each of the 169 participant hospitals. This occurred from September 2017 to April 2018. We also assessed the cost of the training cascade. To assess acquisition of knowledge and skill in the training cascade, multiple-choice question examinations (MCQE) and objective structured clinical evaluations (OSCE) were conducted.
Results: Hospital-based training occurred in 132 participant hospitals (78%). 1,146 midwives, 69% of those employed by participant hospitals, received hospital-based training. Barriers included lack of preparation of hospital-based educators and limited logistical support. The cascade cost an average of 2,105 USD per facility or 197 USD per trainee. Knowledge improved and skills were adequate for regional workshop attendees based on MCQE and OSCE performance.
Conclusion: The train-the-trainer strategy is an effective and affordable strategy for widespread dissemination of the HBS programs in LMICs. Future studies should assess knowledge and skill acquisition following the variety of pragmatic training approaches that may be employed at the facility-level.