Despite major improvements in reducing childhood mortality worldwide, over 5 million pregnancies per year end in stillbirths or neonatal deaths. The vast majority of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Many of these deaths are preventable with readily available evidence-based care practices. This review focuses on educational programs developed to reduce preventable deaths in newborn infants in low- and middle-income countries, including Essential Newborn Care and Helping Babies Breathe, a simplified version of the Neonatal Resuscitation Program. Innovative pragmatic large-scale trials conducted in the Global Network for Women's and Children's Health Research of the National Institutes of Health in the USA have evaluated these programs in low-resource settings. The results of these studies and the implications for future programs designed to decrease childhood mortality are reviewed.