Comprehensive emergency obstetric care including major surgery such as caesarean section is a major health system problem in rural areas of poor countries, where there are no doctors. Innovative trainings of mid-level workforce have now demonstrated viable, scientifically valid solutions. Delegation of major surgery to duly trained 'non-physician clinicians' - 'task shifting' - should be seriously considered to address the human resources crisis in poor countries to cope with current challenges to enhance maternal and neonatal survival. Nationwide, non-physician clinicians in Mozambique perform approximately 90% of caesarean sections at the district hospital level. A comparison between the outcomes of caesarean sections provided by this category and medical doctors, respectively, demonstrates no clinically significant differences. These mid-level providers have a remarkably high retention rate in rural areas (close to 90%). They are cost-effective, as their training and deployment is three times more cost-effective than that of medical doctors.
Keywords: Mozambique; Tanzania; caesarean section; clinical audit; maternal mortality; task shifting.
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