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Local adaption of intrapartum clinical guidelines, United Republic of Tanzania

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Problem: Gaps exist between internationally derived clinical guidelines on care at the time of birth and realistic best practices in busy, low-resourced maternity units.

Approach: In 2014-2018, we carried out the PartoMa study at Zanzibar's tertiary hospital, United Republic of Tanzania. Working with local birth attendants and external experts, we created easy-to-use and locally achievable clinical guidelines and associated in-house training to assist birth attendants in intrapartum care.

Local setting: Around 11 500 women gave birth annually in the hospital. Of the 35-40 birth attendants employed, each cared simultaneously for 3-6 women in labour. At baseline (1 October 2014 to 31 January 2015), there were 59 stillbirths per 1000 total births and 52 newborns with an Apgar score of 1-5 per 1000 live births. Externally derived clinical guidelines were available, but rarely used.

Relevant changes: Staff attendance at the repeated trainings was good, despite seminars being outside working hours and without additional remuneration. Many birth attendants appreciated the intervention and were motivated to improve care. Improvements were found in knowledge, partograph skills and quality of care. After 12 intervention months, stillbirths had decreased 34% to 39 per 1000 total births, while newborns with an Apgar score of 1-5 halved to 28 per 1000 live births.

Lessons learnt: After 4 years, birth attendants still express high demand for the intervention. The development of international, regional and national clinical guidelines targeted at low-resource maternity units needs to be better attuned to input from end-users and the local conditions, and thereby easier to use effectively.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Volume97
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)365-370
Number of pages6
ISSN0042-9686
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

ID: 58013919