Context Specific Realities and Experiences of Nurses and Midwives in Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Services in Two District Hospitals in Rwanda

In low and middle-income countries, nurses and midwives are the frontline healthcare workers in obstetric care. Insights into the experiences of these healthcare workers in managing obstetric care emergencies are critical for improving quality of care. This article presents such insights, from the nurses and midwives working in Rwandan district hospitals, who reflected on their experiences of managing the most common birth-related complications; postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and newborn asphyxia. This is a qualitative part of a broader research about implementation of an mLearning and mHealth decision support tool (Safe Delivery Application), in basic emergency obstetric and newborn care services in Rwanda.

In this exploratory qualitative aspect of the research, the first author facilitated four focus group discussions with 26 nurses and midwives from two district hospitals in Rwanda. Each focus group discussion was made up of two parts. The first part focused on the participants’ reflections on the research results, while the second part explored their experiences of delivering obstetric care services in their respective district hospitals. The research results included: survey results reflecting their knowledge and skills of PPH management and of neonatal resuscitation (NR); and findings from a six-month record review of PPH management and NR outcomes, from the district hospitals under study. Data were analyzed using hybrid thematic analysis.

Nurses and midwives felt that the presented findings were a true reflection of the reality and offered diverse explanations for the results. The participants’ narratives of lived experiences of providing BEmONC services are presented under two broad themes: (1) self-reflections on their current practices and (2) contextual factors influencing the delivery of BEmONC services.

The insights of nurses and midwives regarding the management of birth related complications revealed multi-faceted factors that influence the quality of their obstetric care. Even though the study was focused on their management of PPH and NR, the resulting recommendations to improve quality of care could benefit the broader field of maternal and child health particularly in low and middle income countries.

The power of practice: simulation training improving the quality of neonatal resuscitation skills in Bihar, India.

Globally, neonatal mortality accounts for nearly half of under-five mortality, and intrapartum related events are a leading cause. Despite the rise in neonatal resuscitation (NR) training programs in low- and middle-income countries, their impact on the quality of NR skills amongst providers with limited formal medical education, particularly those working in rural primary health centers (PHCs), remains incompletely understood.This study evaluates the impact of PRONTO International simulation training on the quality of NR skills in simulated resuscitations and live deliveries in rural PHCs throughout Bihar, India. Further, it explores barriers to performance of key NR skills. PRONTO training was conducted within CARE India’s AMANAT intervention, a maternal and child health quality improvement project. Performance in simulations was evaluated using video-recorded assessment simulations at weeks 4 and 8 of training. Performance in live deliveries was evaluated in real time using a mobile-phone application. Barriers were explored through semi-structured interviews with simulation facilitators.In total, 1342 nurses participated in PRONTO training and 226 NR assessment simulations were matched by PHC and evaluated. From week 4 to 8 of training, proper neck extension, positive pressure ventilation (PPV) with chest rise, and assessment of heart rate increased by 14%, 19%, and 12% respectively (all p ≤ 0.01). No difference was noted in stimulation, suction, proper PPV rate, or time to completion of key steps. In 252 live deliveries, identification of non-vigorous neonates, use of suction, and use of PPV increased by 21%, 25%, and 23% respectively (all p < 0.01) between weeks 1-3 and 4-8. Eighteen interviews revealed individual, logistical, and cultural barriers to key NR skills.PRONTO simulation training had a positive impact on the quality of key skills in simulated and live resuscitations throughout Bihar. Nevertheless, there is need for ongoing improvement that will likely require both further clinical training and addressing barriers that go beyond the scope of such training. In settings where clinical outcome data is unreliable, data triangulation, the process of synthesizing multiple data sources to generate a better-informed evaluation, offers a powerful tool for guiding this process.