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Implementing effective simulation-based education to improve maternal newborn and child health in a resource-constrained setting

In sub-Saharan Africa, and Uganda in particular, the highest incidence of under-five deaths occurs in the neonatal period; the main causes of death are birth asphyxia and pre-term complications. These deaths could be reduced by skilled birth attendants and competent health providers who can recognize and treat these conditions at an early stage. However, many health providers have minimal training and little opportunity to maintain or upgrade their skills in managing delivery complications and acute pediatric conditions. The project will improve quality maternal and newborn care by strengthening acute care skills and the confidence of health care providers through simulation-based training.

Simulation-based learning, which allows trainees to experience the pressure and stressors of a “real life” situation, improves health providers' knowledge, clinical skills, procedural and teamwork competencies, and confidence. Uganda's Mbarara University of Science and Technology, in collaboration with the University of Calgary, are establishing a three-year "SIM for Life" initiative that will a set up a simulation laboratory equipped to train faculty, students, and community health providers.

This project will strengthen the capacity and support of the research team to study how simulation-based learning can effectively function in low-resourced settings and how this type of learning can be scaled up. It will help to produce key leaders in neonatal health and contribute to the improvement of newborn health outcomes in Uganda and beyond.

This project's results will also benefit initiatives related to the "Helping Babies Breathe" component of IDRC’s Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) program. IMCHA is a seven-year, $36 million initiative funded by Global Affairs Canada, IDRC, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Other contributors to the “SIM for Life” initiative are the Laerdal Foundation and ELMA Foundation.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Marie-Gloriose Ingabire
Total Funding
CA$ 570,900.00
Maternal and Child Health
Maternal and Child Health
Institution Country
Project Leader
Dr. Santorino Data
Mbarara University of Science and Technology