Can an integrated obstetric emergency simulation training improve respectful maternity care? Results from a pilot study in Ghana

Birth. 2019 Sep;46(3):523-532. doi: 10.1111/birt.12418. Epub 2019 Jan 24.


Background: Few evidence-based interventions exist on how to improve respectful maternity care (RMC) in low-resource settings. We sought to evaluate the effect of an integrated simulation-based training on provision of RMC.

Methods: The pilot project was in East Mamprusi District in northern Ghana. We integrated specific components of RMC, emphasizing dignity and respect, communication and autonomy, and supportive care, into a simulation training to improve identification and management of obstetric and neonatal emergencies. Forty-three providers were trained. For evaluation, we conducted surveys at baseline (N = 215) and endline (N = 318) 6 months later, with recently delivered women to assess their experiences of care using the person-centered maternity care scale. Higher scores on the scale represent more respectful care.

Results: Compared to the baseline, women in the endline reported more respectful care. The average person-centered maternity care score increased from 50 at baseline to 72 at endline, a relative increase of 43%. Scores on the subscales also increased between baseline and endline: 15% increase for dignity and respect, 87% increase for communication and autonomy, and 55% increase for supportive care. These differences remained significant in multivariate analysis controlling for several potential confounders.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that integrated provider trainings that give providers the opportunity to learn, practice, and reflect on their provision of RMC in the context of stressful emergency obstetric simulations have the potential to improve women's childbirth experiences in low-resource settings. Incorporating such trainings into preservice and in-service training of providers will help advance global efforts to promote RMC.

Keywords: Ghana; mistreatment; person-centered maternity care; quality of care; respectful maternity care; simulation training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Delivery, Obstetric / methods*
  • Emergencies*
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Respect
  • Simulation Training*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult