Evidence and impact

The HMBS programs have been implemented in 80+ countries, reaching more than 1 million healthcare professionals –and providing evidence and guidance for the programs.

Impact studies

The impact of the HMBS methodology and programs have been studied extensively over the years. Evidence shows that, when effectively implemented, the HMBS programs can help reduce maternal and neonatal mortality significantly. You can find some of the most significant peer-reviewed papers here:

Key steps for success

What happens before and after the days of training, and who is involved, will impact the success of the programs. Experts in HMBS implementation from around the world identified key steps to promote successful national implementation of HBS/HMS.

  • Secure Ministry of Health buy-in and establish an alliance including public, private, and non-governmental partners
  • Form a working group for planning, training, and monitoring
  • Develop national roll-out plan, for pre-service and in-service training, in both public and private sector
  • Provide learning materials and equipment at the time of training
  • Identify and support local leaders and champions
  • Set-up low-dose, high-frequency refresher trainings to happen locally over time
  • Establish facility-level Quality Improvement teams
  • Collect and report local data on standardized indicators
  • Establish a system for reporting and feedback
  • Engage health care providers, families, and the broader community.

From the research article Successful implementation of Helping Babies Survive and Helping Mothers Survive programs—An Utstein formula for newborn and maternal survival.

Example projects

For over a decade, organizations have been using the HMBS programs in their projects in low-resources settings around the world. These combined efforts have contributed to survival of thousands of mothers and babies. Some of the largest programs are:

Case study

50,000 Happy Birthdays

From 2018 to 2020, the International Confederation of Midwives led and implemented the 50,000 Happy Birthdays project in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania. The premise of the project was that a well-trained, supported midwife can make the difference between life and death. This project included the adoption of HMBS training programs and adopting the approach of low-dose high frequency training. Across the two years 28,500 training episodes were delivered with over 20,000 individuals reached by at least one training module. Most importantly the improved quality of care provided by midwives in project sites had a substantial impact on health outcomes for mothers and babies, with mortality rates dropping up to 57%.

The project evaluation showed impressive decreases in the main causes of maternal mortality(…). Although other factors could have positively influenced quality of care, the pattern of results in all three countries gave us confidence that the project was a major contributing factor.

50,000 Happy Birthdays final report

Impact in your setting

Reach out to discover how the HMBS training programs can help your needs.