Background Neonatal mortality in Laos is high at currently 50–70/1000 live births according to WHO sources.
Aim To reduce neonatal mortality and comply with the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDG) 2015 of reduced child mortality.
Methods Two level teaching has been introduced at the university level (‘teach the teachers’) and at the provincial hospital level. Simulation-based medical education was used at the university level, whereas practical teaching at the provincial hospital level was performed by the use of conventional mannequins. Additionally health care personnel involved in the care of newborn babies has been invited from the district hospitals. The five province hospitals have been chosen due to their high rates of neonatal mortality. These provinces are: Luangnamtha, Oudomxay, Houaphan, Xiengkhoang and Borikhamxay. Teaching is currently planned for a three year period and takes place once or twice a year at each provincial hospital. Participants are from all professional groups involved in the care of the newborn infant, i.e. paediatricians, obstetricians, midwives, skilled birth attendants, paediatric and obstetric nurses. Teaching itself consists of theoretical lessons and very practical exercises related to the immediate perinatal scenario. In addition, barriers to implementation and the use of available knowledge and technical equipment were analysed during clinical ward rounds.
Perspective Teaching started in May 2013 with an opening workshop ‘Update in Neonatology’, which was held in Vientiane, Laos from May 13–17. Simulation-based medical education was newly introduced within this project to medical professionals in Laos. Loss of face and other features of Southeast Asian mentality need to be taken into account during debriefing. Training sessions will extend well into 2016 and are currently performed by a group of dedicated German neonatologists. Impact on hospital mortality rates will be evaluated.