Diagnosis and management of postpartum hemorrhage and intrapartum asphyxia in a quality improvement initiative using nurse-mentoring and simulation in Bihar, India

PLoS One. 2019 Jul 5;14(7):e0216654. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216654. eCollection 2019.


Background: In the state of Bihar, India a multi-faceted quality improvement nurse-mentoring program was implemented to improve provider skills in normal and complicated deliveries. The objective of this analysis was to examine changes in diagnosis and management of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) of the mother and intrapartum asphyxia of the infant in primary care facilities in Bihar, during the program.

Methods: During the program, mentor pairs visited each facility for one week, covering four facilities over a four-week period and returned for subsequent week-long visits once every month for seven to nine consecutive months. Between- and within-facility comparisons were made using a quasi-experimental and a longitudinal design over time, respectively, to measure change due to the intervention. The proportions of PPH and intrapartum asphyxia among all births as well as the proportions of PPH and intrapartum asphyxia cases that were effectively managed were examined. Zero-inflated negative binomial models and marginal structural methodology were used to assess change in diagnosis and management of complications after accounting for clustering of deliveries within facilities as well as time varying confounding.

Results: This analysis included 55,938 deliveries from 320 facilities. About 2% of all deliveries, were complicated with PPH and 3% with intrapartum asphyxia. Between-facility comparisons across phases demonstrated diagnosis was always higher in the final week of intervention (PPH: 2.5-5.4%, intrapartum asphyxia: 4.2-5.6%) relative to the first week (PPH: 1.2-2.1%, intrapartum asphyxia: 0.7-3.3%). Within-facility comparisons showed PPH diagnosis increased from week 1 through 5 (from 1.6% to 4.4%), after which it decreased through week 7 (3.1%). A similar trend was observed for intrapartum asphyxia. For both outcomes, the proportion of diagnosed cases where selected evidence-based practices were used for management either remained stable or increased over time.

Conclusions: The nurse-mentoring program appears to have built providers' capacity to identify PPH and intrapartum asphyxia cases but diagnosis levels are still not on par with levels observed in Southeast Asia and globally.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / diagnosis*
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / epidemiology
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / therapy*
  • Disease Management
  • Education
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mentoring
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality Improvement

Grant support

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1112431) to DW.