Background: eight skills laboratories (skillslabs) were established by consensus of vietnamese medical universities, with international support. A national list of basic skills needed for medical practice and suitable for skillslab training was developed; models, medical and teaching equipment were supplied; learning material was developed and core staff and teachers were trained. This study was designed to assess how closely eight schools in vietnam came to implementing all recommended skills on list developed by educators of that country, and identify the facilitating factors and barriers to skillslab use within the countrys largest school. Methods: data were collected from reports from the eight skillslabs. Students and trainers from the largest university were surveyed for their perceptions of the quality of training on eight selected skills. Results of students skill assessments were gathered, and focus group discussions with trainers were conducted. Spss 16 was used to analyze the quantitative data and cluster analysis was used to test for differences. Results: only one medical school was able to train all 56 basic skills proposed by consensus among the eight vietnamese medical universities. Deeper exploration within the largest school revealed that its skillslab training was successful for most skills, according to students postprogram skills assessment and to students and trainers perceptions. However, through focus group discussions we learned that the quantity of training aids was perceived to be insufficient; some models/manikins were inappropriate for training; more consideration was needed in framing the expected requirements of students within each skill; too little time was allocated for the training of one of the eight skills investigated; and further curriculum development is needed to better integrate the skills training program into the broader curriculum. Discussion: the fact that one medical school could teach all skills recommended for skillslab training demonstrates that all vietnamese schools may be similarly able to teach the basic skills of the national consensus list. But as of now, it remains challenging for most schools in this developing country to fully implement a national skillslab training program. 2014, Network: towards unity for health. All rights reserved.