Methodology and tools for quality improvement in maternal and newborn health care

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2011 Jul;114(1):4-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2011.02.007.


Objective: To gain an overview of approaches, methodologies, and tools used in quality improvement of maternal and newborn health in low-income countries.

Methods: Electronic search of MEDLINE and organizational databases for literature describing approaches, methodologies, and tools used to improve the quality of maternal and newborn health care in low-income countries. Relevant papers and reports were reviewed and summarized.

Results: Developing a culture of quality is an important requisite for successful quality improvement. Methodologies to improve quality include the development of standards and guidelines and the performance of mortality, near-miss, and criterion-based audits. Tools for data collection and process description were identified, and examples of work to improve quality of care are provided.

Conclusion: The documented experience with the identified approaches, methodologies, and tools indicates that none is sufficient by itself to achieve a desirable improvement in quality of care. The choice of methodologies and tools depends on the healthcare system and its available resources. There is a lack of studies that describe the process of quality improvement and a need for research to provide evidence of the effectiveness of the identified methods and tools.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Child Health Services / standards
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Welfare / statistics & numerical data
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Maternal Health Services / standards
  • Maternal Welfare / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*