On-site Learning Labs for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health

Learning Labs extend core maternal and newborn health training curriculums beyond national trainings and into the health facilities where providers put them in practice.

National training efforts are an important way to scale up new policies and programs.  However, too often competencies gained during these short, centralized trainings fail to translate effectively back to trainees’ home health facilities.  At HAI, we call this the “FUAT gap”, referring to the importance of investing in follow-up after training.

In Timor-Leste, HAI and the Timor-Leste National Institute for Health developed the Learning Lab approach, which continue to build on core training competencies over time through on-site case-studies, practice simulations, and role-playing. Midwives who have participated in Learning Labs report that prior to this training they often referred difficult cases, such as newborn resuscitation, to a higher level facility, but after Learning Lab training they have confidence to treat these cases on their own and avoid high risk travel to a referral facility.

HAI, now HAMNASA, midwife trainers have conducted learning labs for municipality midwives in antenatal and postpartum care, safe and clean delivery, and essential newborn care. To address the important issue of domestic violence in Timor-Leste, HAI integrated a domestic violence module into all Learning Lab trainings.  The domestic violence module covers identification of signs of violence and counseling and referral skills for midwives and doctors.


“Before when we hadn’t yet participated in Learning Labs, we referred all the [emergency] cases to Maliana [referral hospital], but since participating in this program we can now treat these cases on our own. We always had the suction and the ambubag, but we didn’t know how to use them.”

– Midwife, Bobonaro Community Health Centre