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Neonatology. 2017;111(1):61-67. Epub 2016 Aug 20.

Effects of Essential Newborn Care Training on Fresh Stillbirths and Early Neonatal Deaths by Maternal Education.

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University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Ala., USA.



Infants of women with lower education levels are at higher risk for perinatal mortality.


We explored the impact of training birth attendants and pregnant women in the Essential Newborn Care (ENC) Program on fresh stillbirths (FSBs) and early (7-day) neonatal deaths (END) by maternal education level in developing countries.


A train-the-trainer model was used with local instructors in rural communities in six countries (Argentina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, India, Pakistan, and Zambia). Data were collected using a pre-/post-active baseline controlled study design.


A total of 57,643 infants/mothers were enrolled. The follow-up rate at 7 days of age was 99.2%. The risk for FSB and END was higher for mothers with 0-7 years of education than for those with ≥8 years of education during both the pre- and post-ENC periods in unadjusted models and in models adjusted for confounding. The effect of ENC differed as a function of maternal education for FSB (interaction p = 0.041) without evidence that the effect of ENC differed as a function of maternal education for END. The model-based estimate of FSB risk was reduced among mothers with 0-7 years of education (19.7/1,000 live births pre-ENC, CI: 16.3, 23.0 vs. 12.2/1,000 live births post-ENC, CI: 16.3, 23.0, p < 0.001), but was not significantly different for mothers with ≥8 years of education, respectively.


A low level of maternal education was associated with higher risk for FSB and END. ENC training was more effective in reducing FSB among mothers with low education levels.

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