WHO Essential Newborn Care Course


WHO’s Essential Newborn Care Course (ENCC) aims to build competencies of learners to save lives and prevent disabilities and ensure all newborns reach their full potential. Learners will respond to the essential needs of newborns everywhere, including some of the most difficult contexts such as fragile and humanitarian settings.

The first edition of ENCC was first published in 2010. In 2023, the WHO published the second edition. This version has integrated WHO guidelines, recommendations, quality of care standards and materials updated since 2010 and is newborn-centred, addressing the newborn’s right to quality and respectful care. The reach of the course has been extended from the classroom to many contexts, including humanitarian situations.

Course Overview – 2023 (2nd edition)

There are three options for how to run the course: The Foundation Course, the Modular Course, or a combination of both.

Option A: The Foundation Course with ENC1 and ENC2

The Basic Course is made up of Essential Newborn Care 1 (ENC1) and Essential Newborn Care 2 (ENC2). These were created in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, as an update of the courses Helping Babies Breathe, Essential Care for Every Baby and Essential Care for Small Babies. ENC1 and ENC2 use the HMBS approach.

ENC1: Essential Newborn Care 1

Immediate Care and Helping Babies Breathe at Births. ENC1 focuses on the first 60 minutes of life. It is the new version of Helping Babies Breathe (HBB).

ENC2: Essential Newborn Care 2

Assessment and Continue Care. ENC2 is the new, combined version of Essential Care for Every Baby (ECEB) and Essential Care for Small Babies (ECSB)

Option B: ENC Modular Course

The Modular Course covers the same topics as the Foundation Courses, more in-depth. It is made up of 14 modules that include nurturing care, and additional practical sessions and simulations. Available at who.org.


  1. Introduction
  2. Communication skills
  3. Infection prevention for newborns
  4. Prepare for delivery
  5. Immediate newborn care
  6. Examination of the newborn
  7. Keeping the newborn warm
  8. Breastfeeding: ensuring a good start
  9. Basic resuscitation of the newborn
  10. The small baby
  11. Kangaroo mother care
  12. Breastfeeding: overcoming difficulties
  13. Alternative methods of feeding
  14. Preparing for discharge

Option C: Combination of the Foundation Course and selected modules

The Foundation Course can be complemented with selected modules.

More information

For both the Foundation and Modular course options

Delivery mode

  • Face-to-face
  • Blended (distance + face-to-face)

Who the course is for

  • Health workers caring for newborns or will take care
    of newborns
  • Multidisciplinary team for newborn (midwives,
    nurses, doctors, paediatricians and other cadres
    caring for newborns)
  • Pre-service students (nursing, midwifery, medicine
    and other cadres caring for newborns)

Learner levels

  • Foundation — Trained health workers with no newborn experience and pre-service students
  • Intermediate — Health workers updating their skills and competencies in caring for newborns


  • Mentored clinical practice
  • Simulations and role play
  • Videos
  • Case studies
  • Reflection on practice
  • Point of Care Quality Improvement (POCQI)

Self-paced and peer-to-peer learning

  • Distance learning/E-learning
  • Treasure hunts for evidence, guidelines
  • Case studies with peers
  • Quizzes
  • Simulations and clinical practice with peers
  • Quality improvement

Select your role