Impact of Medical Doctors Global Health and Tropical Medicine on decision-making in caesarean section: a pre- and post-implementation study in a rural hospital in Malawi

Wouter Bakker, Emma Bakker, Christiaan Huigens, Emily Kaunda, Timothy Phiri, Jogchum Beltman, Jos van Roosmalen, Thomas van den Akker

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Medical doctors with postgraduate training in Global Health and Tropical Medicine (MDGHTM) from the Netherlands, a high-income country with a relatively low caesarean section rate, assist associate clinicians in low-income countries regarding decision-making during labour. Objective of this study was to assess impact of the presence of MDGHTMs in a rural Malawian hospital on caesarean section rate and indications. METHODS: This retrospective pre- and post-implementation study was conducted in a rural hospital in Malawi, where MDGHTMs were employed from April 2015. Indications for caesarean section were audited against national protocols and defined as supported or unsupported by these protocols. Caesarean section rates and numbers of unsupported indications for the years 2015 and 2016 per quarter for different staff cadres were assessed by linear regression. RESULTS: Six hundred forty-five women gave birth by caesarean section in the study period. The caesarean rate dropped from 20.1 to 12.8% (p < 0.05, R2 = 0.53, y = - 0.0086x + 0.2295). Overall 132 of 501 (26.3%) auditable indications were not supported by documentation in medical records. The proportion of unsupported indications dropped significantly over time from 47.0 to 4.4% (p < 0.01, R2 = 0.71, y = - 0.0481x + 0.4759). Stratified analysis for associate clinicians only (excluding caesarean sections performed by medical doctors) showed a similar decrease from 48.3 to 6.5% (p < 0.05, R2 = 0.55, y = - 0.0442x + 0.4805). CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that presence of MDGHTMs was accompanied by considerable decreases in caesarean section rate and proportion of unsupported indications for caesarean section in this facility. Their presence is likely to have influenced decision-making by associate clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Resources for Health
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Associate clinicians
  • Audit
  • Caesarean section
  • MDGHTM
  • Unnecessary caesareans

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