Most African women face childbirth without access to skilled health workers when obstetric and neonatal emergencies arise. Providing and retaining skilled health workers is vital in attempts to save the 400,000 pregnant or birthing women and 7 million babies who die annually in the world. In the modern world this tragedy is unacceptable and largely preventable.
Education and training for health professionals is the key to improving healthcare for mothers and babies in Africa. Non-Physician Clinicians (NPCs) are an effective and retainable health solution for many areas of Africa where there are too few doctors for the needs of the population.
The primary objective of the project is to develop, implement and evaluate a programme of locally-based clinical service improvement. This includes improving clinical guidelines and providing education and leadership training which will be linked to specialist support. This clinical service improvement will make use of the best existing practice and utilise available technologies to help reduce maternal morbidity and mortality and neonatal death rates across different African communities.
- To develop the workforce by training non-physician clinicians in more advanced obstetric care
- To involve local medical professions in the educational leadership and support of this workforce and in research to evaluate the evidence
- To increase clinical knowledge and skills in conjunction with training on the use of non-surgical treatments and technology that will enable the workforce to improve outcomes.
- To determine appropriate clinical guidelines and pathways for the triage and treatment of emergency maternal and newborn cases
- To develop systems in postnatal care that are grounded in the limitations of available resources and staffing and helping develop innovative local support mechanisms
- To improve maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality by improving clinical education, leadership training and the creation of a professional support network
- To pilot a communications system to provide professional support for NPCs and outreach health workers in their delivery of emergency obstetric care in remote and rural areas
- To empower all healthcare professionals to improve reciprocal respect, reduce isolation, enhance standards and improve performance
- To integrate the project into the fabric of the health care system in the partner countries and ensure the active collaboration of local and national governments as well as relevant international stakeholders
- Improvement in maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality
- More empowered and professional non-clinician physicians who take leadership roles
- Updated national guidelines
To establish academic and managerial rigour in clinical service improvement in maternal and neonatal healthcare by training local medical professions and managers in new disciplines, enabling them to undertake their own local monitoring and to develop their practice, ensuring continuous improvement.
All service improvements are planned to be sustainable, scalable, cost-effective, and transferrable, with the aim of reducing the loss of mothers and babies in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Godfrey Mbaruku
Ifakara Health Institute
Plot 463, Kiko Avenue
Off Old Bagamoyo Road
Dar es Salaam
Ms Fannie Kachale
Dept of Reproductive Health
Ministry of Health
PO Box 30377
Dr Chisale Mhango
University of Malawi College of Medicine
Private Bag 360
Prof Staffan Bergström
Dr Alan Davies
GE Healthcare Ltd
Little Chalfont HP7 9NA