Expected to deliver: alignment of regulation, training, and actual performance of emergency obstetric care providers in Malawi and Tanzania

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2011 Dec;115(3):322-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2011.09.008. Epub 2011 Oct 27.


Objective: Policy, regulation, training, and support for cadres adopting tasks and roles outside their historical domain have lagged behind the practical shift in service-delivery on the ground. The Health Systems Strengthening for Equity (HSSE) project sought to assess the alignment between national policy and regulation, preservice training, district level expectations, and clinical practice of cadres providing some or all components of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) in Malawi and Tanzania.

Methods: A mixed methods approach was used, including key informant interviews, a survey of District Health Management Teams, and a survey of health providers employed at a representative sample of health facilities.

Results: A lack of alignment between national policy and regulation, training, and clinical practice was observed in both countries, particularly for cadres with less preservice training; a closer alignment was found between district level expectations and reported clinical practice. There is ineffective use of cadres that are trained and authorized to provide EmOC, but who are not delivering care, especially assisted vaginal delivery.

Conclusion: Better alignment between policy and practice, and support and training, and more efficient utilization of clinical staff are needed to achieve the quality health care for which the Malawian and Tanzanian health ministries and governments are accountable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Delivery of Health Care / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods
  • Emergency Medical Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Maternal Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Maternal Health Services / standards
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Tanzania