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Perspectives of South African Women and Midwives on Clinical Practice in Public Maternity Units: Facilitating the Scaling-Up of Such Clinical Practices

  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 R-CERP
  • Handout: Yes

Despite a steady drop globally in maternal and newborn deaths since 1990, thousands of women and newborns still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth. South Africa, together with other countries, failed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality by three quarters by 2015. This is despite the positive efforts made in the country towards achieving these goals. However, much more still needs to be done. For that reason, proper and safe care of labouring women remains the identified major focus to prevent these deaths.

The study was the culmination of an investigation into the problem of poor performance regarding maternal and perinatal outcomes as identified by the researcher. The aim of the study was to understand the experiences and perceptions of the women and the midwives regarding the clinical practices in public maternity units in South Africa in order to facilitate the scaling-up of the midwifery practice.

The study found that midwives were committed to provide quality care but major factors needed to be addressed to facilitate scaling-up of clinical midwifery practices. The midwifery profession needed to be strengthened and an enabling working environment provided. Based on the results of the study as well as the theoretical, conceptual and contextual framework, two strategies were developed:
Strategy 1: Empowering midwives to deliver woman-centred care in public sector maternity units
Strategy 2: Creating an enabling work environment in order to deliver woman-centred care in public sector maternity units

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Describe the challenges midwives are facing in low- and middle- income countries

Objective 2: Explain the midwifery profession and clinical maternity practices in South Africa

Objective 3: Discuss how women-centred care has the potential to drastically transform public maternity units and therefore maternal health outcomes, in South Africa