Improving essential obstetric and newborn care in resource-poor countries

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2011;31(1):18-23. doi: 10.3109/01443615.2010.533218.


Skilled birth attendance (SBA) and essential obstetric care (EOC) are key strategies for reducing maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity globally. Lack of adequately trained competent staff is a key barrier to achieving this. We assessed the effectiveness of a new package of 'Life Saving Skills - Essential Obstetric and Newborn Care Training' (LSS-EOC and NC) designed specifically around the UN signal functions in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Among 600 healthcare providers (nurse-midwives, doctors, clinical officers and specialists), knowledge about the diagnosis and management of complications of pregnancy and childbirth as well as newborn care significantly increased (p < 0.001). There was measurable improvement in skills (p < 0.001), and participants expressed a high level of satisfaction with the training. The training package was found to meet the needs of healthcare providers, increased awareness of the need for evidence-based care and encouraged teamwork.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Developing Countries*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Health Services / methods*
  • Maternal Health Services / standards
  • Maternal-Child Nursing / methods
  • Maternal-Child Nursing / standards
  • Midwifery / methods*
  • Midwifery / standards
  • Obstetric Nursing / methods
  • Obstetric Nursing / standards
  • Obstetrics / methods*
  • Obstetrics / standards
  • Patient Care Team / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Staff Development / methods*
  • Staff Development / standards