Effectiveness of Lifesaving Skills Training and Improving Institutional Emergency Obstetric Care Readiness in Lam Dong, Vietnam


  • Nancy L. Sloan DrPH,

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    • Nancy L. Sloan, DrPH, is a perinatal and nutritional epidemiologist. During the study, she was a Senior Program Associate in the International Programs Division of the Population Council.

  • Nguyen Thi Nhu Ngoc MPH, MD,

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    • Nguyen Thi Nhu Ngoc, MPH, MD, is an obstetrician and epidemiologist. She was Vice-Director of Hung Vuong Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City during the study period.

  • Do Trong Hieu MD,

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    • Do Trong Hieu, MD, is a physician and was Director of the Maternal-Child Health Division of the Ministry of Health, Vietnam, during the study period.

  • Charlotte Quimby CNM, MSN,

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    • Charlotte Quimby, CNM, MSN, FACNM, is a certified nurse-midwife and lifesaving skills trainer.

  • Beverly Winikoff MPH, MD,

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    • Beverly Winikoff, MPH, MD, is a reproductive health researcher and physician. She is the President of Gynuity Health Projects.

  • Goli Fassihian MPH

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    • Goli Fassihian, MPH, is a public health specialist and an independent consultant.

Nancy L. Sloan, DrPH, Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Ave., M&V 127, Boston, MA 02111. E-mail: nancy.sloan@tufts.edu


Essential obstetric care is promoted as the prime strategy to save women's lives in developing countries. We measured the effect of improving lifesaving skills (LSS) capacity in Vietnam, a country in which most women deliver in health facilities. A quasi-experimental study was implemented to assess the impact of LSS training and readiness (availability of essential obstetric equipment, supplies, and medication) on the diagnosis of life-threatening obstetric conditions and appropriate management of labor and birth. The intervention (LSS training and readiness) was provided to all clinics and hospitals from 1 of 3 demographically similar districts in southcentral Vietnam, to hospitals only in another district, with the third district serving as the comparison group. Detection of life-threatening obstetric conditions increased in both experimental clinics and hospitals, but the intervention only improved the management of these conditions in hospitals. Management of life-threatening obstetric conditions is most effective in hospitals. The intervention did not clearly benefit women delivering in clinics.