The HMBS approach

Key elements of the HMBS methodology

  • Hands-on — Participants learn and maintain skills through clinical cases using realistic simulators.
  • Low-dose high-frequency practice — content is delivered in short simulation-based activities, which are spaced over time to optimize learning. Ongoing practice sessions at the facility cement and maintain learning.
  • Team-oriented — training in teams strengthens collaboration and communication, which are critical during emergencies.

The learning materials

The HMBS course materials are designed based on the latest evidence and guidelines. They are easy to use and affordable, enabling training in any setting.

Facilitators guide the participants throught the course using online digital learning OR printed Flip Charts, with demonstrations, discussions, practice and more .

Action Plans visually present the steps to take during care, acting as aids both during training and clinical practice.  The action plans use a “traffic light” analogy, where the colors green, yellow and red indicate the level of care needed.

Provider Guides and practice cards support continued practice and improved quality of care.

Simulators support hands-on practice. MamaBirthie, MamaNatalie and NeoNatalie by Laerdal are a low cost, portable, and durable options which allow for role modeling respectful care.


Research shows that when well implemented, these courses  show a reduction in the leading causes of maternal and newborn death. The HMBS courses have been implemented in more than 80 countries and more than 1 million healthcare providers trained … and counting.

The history of Helping Mothers and Babies Survive

In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) invited Laerdal to collaborate on developing a simplified and culturally adapted course in newborn resuscitation to meet the needs in low-resource settings. The result was to become widely known as Helping Babies Breathe. Later Jhpiego led the creation of the first course for mothers — Bleeding After Birth.

Since then, Helping Babies Breathe has become WHO’s Essential Newborn Care 1. More courses have been created to help mothers and babies. Their impact has been studied, they have been refined and updated to follow evidence and guidelines.

Explore all courses

What comes next?

We are working on ways to support the implementation, creating online versions of the courses and a digital assessment tool.  

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