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Exploring the Role of Midwives in Uganda's Postabortion Care: Current Practice, Barriers, and Solutions

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Annually, upward of 100,000 Ugandan women receive care after a spontaneous or induced abortion. Abortion-related complications account for up to 26% of maternal deaths. Pilot projects have trained Ugandan midwives in the use of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) for postabortion care (PAC), but to date there is no published literature exploring midwifery training and PAC practices. To better understand how PAC is provided in public Ugandan hospitals, the midwife's training and role in PAC and the perceived barriers to providing PAC, interviews with midwives were conducted at 3 public hospitals. A framework analysis of emergent and a priori themes was conducted. Fewer than half of midwives interviewed had received formal PAC training. Current clinical practice in PAC includes MVA, dilatation and curettage, and medical management with misoprostol. Participants identified barriers to providing PAC, which include shortage of staff and equipment, transportation, cultural issues, and gender inequality. Solutions include increased staffing on maternity wards, training more midwives to perform MVA, and improved planning and communication with National Medical Stores. Community sensitization and support for young pregnant women is needed.
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Keywords: ABORTION COMPLICATIONS; MATERNAL MORTALITY; POSTABORTION CARE; REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE; UGANDA

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2014-03-01

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  • The International Journal of Childbirth is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal publishing original research, reviews, and case studies concerned with the practice of midwifery, women's health, prenatal care, and the birth process. The journal encourages the exploration of the complex and contextual issues surrounding childbirth provision and outcomes and invites manuscripts from a wide range of clinical, theoretical, political, methodological, psychological, public health, policy, and multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.
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