Tag Archives: Perinatal deaths

MPDSR: a supportive process for midwives to boost morale

The 5th of May 2017 is International Day of the Midwife. This blog illustrates how the maternal and perinatal death surveillance and response (MPDSR) process in Kenya helped to lift the morale of midwives working in extremely challenging conditions.

The Maternal and Newborn Health Improvement (MANI) project has trained eight midwives from Lugulu hospital since September 2015 in MPDSR. Since then the facility has regularly conducted maternal and perinatal death reviews (M/PDRs). The primary objective of MPDSR is to identify areas where quality and access to emergency obstetric and newborn health care services can be improved to help prevent future deaths. However, in Lugulu hospital, the midwives found that MPDSR equipped them with strategies to cope during an exceptionally difficult period.

Image 1_final

Like many faith-based facilities across Kenya, health providers in Lugulu Hospital in Bungoma County felt unable to turn maternity clients away during the four-month strike by Government doctors. During the strike, from November 2016 to February 2017, Lugulu Hospital experienced:

  • An increase in maternity in-referrals from an average of two per month to over 100, including many cases from facilities in neighbouring counties
  • A sudden six-fold increase in the number of deliveries and a seven-fold increase in the number of caesarean sections

Ordinarily, these additional clients would have used the free government maternity services, and lacked the resources to pay Lugulu’s standard fees. With clients unable to pay, Lugulu struggled to cover the additional demands on staffing, drugs and supplies, leaving the facility in a compromising situation. Midwives experienced a huge increase in their workload, typically working over 12-hour days, often for seven-consecutive days, leaving them both “physically and mentally drained” (Matron in-charge). Postnatal wards were grossly overcrowded. Emergency clients had to queue for caesarean sections in the hospital’s only operating theatre, with staff having to make difficult decisions regarding which emergency case was most critical. For some emergency patients arriving from elsewhere, delays in the weak referral system proved to be fatal.

The increased caseload and detrimental impact on quality of care resulted in midwives witnessing over 20 perinatal deaths a month at its peak, compared to an average of one per month before the strike. No maternal deaths had occurred at the facility between January and November 2017, but five occurred during the strike, leaving staff to feel “upset and demotivated seeing so many lives lost just because of money” (Maternity-in-charge).

Image_graph_updated

Despite the excessive strain already placed on their workload by the doctor’s strike, midwives and other health personnel at Lugulu continued to meet to review all of the maternal and perinatal deaths that occurred during the course of the strike, and found that this was “a positive experience at a time when morale was low” (Matron-in-charge). The Maternity-in-charge went on to explain:

“Midwives see MPDSR as a learning experience and an important process for identifying and addressing preventable factors contributing to deaths. The review process helps us to see our weakness. We identify gaps in the management of difficult cases. We then take action, such as internal continuous medical education and training in emergency obstetric and newborn care.”

What was especially important during this crisis was that midwives found the meetings were an opportunity to “sit together as a team” (Matron-in-charge). During the doctors’ strike they felt determined to continue the M/PDR process as it helped them at a truly difficult time emotionally. Akin to a peer-support counselling session “some midwives even came to attend review meetings after working a night shift,” (Health Record Information Officer).

The MPDSR process was thus a pivotal mechanism enabling the midwives to cope in this difficult context. It confirmed MPDSR as a valuable process that strengthened their team work, reinforcing the need and appreciation of their collaborative efforts.

Acknowledgements: This blog was written by Sarah Barnett, Technical Specialist at Options.

To learn more about the experiences of midwives conducting confidential enquiries in Ireland, including the importance of having a peer-support system within the process, read our expert opinion piece on the role of the multi-disciplinary team in MDSR or similar models.

How legal and policy frameworks support MDSR in Jamaica

Image_map of JamaicaProfessor Affette McCaw-Binns, a Reproductive Health Epidemiologist at the University of the West Indies (Mona) and Dr Simone Spence, Director of Family Health Services at the Ministry of Health in Jamaica explain how legislation and policy strengthened the reporting of maternal deaths in Jamaica. This case study describes how the policy framework was amended to improve the reporting of maternal deaths and how other interventions implemented simultaneously together strengthen the maternal death surveillance and response (MDSR) system.

BackgroundImage_Dr Simone Spence_thumbnailImage_Prof Affette McCaw-Binns_Thumbnail

In the early 1980s1,2, maternal deaths in Jamaica were significantly under-reported in vital registration records by as much as 75%. With over 80% of all live births occurring in public hospitals2 it was suggested that establishing a surveillance system at public hospitals could capture needed information about the number of maternal deaths in the country. Given the findings3, the government agreed to implement an active (as opposed to the pre-existing passive) surveillance system to monitor maternal deaths.

This case study will describe the approaches that the government adopted, including how the legal framework was used in support of strengthening the MDSR system and reversing under-reporting.  Continue reading

Three new tools from the World Health Organization

On 16 August, 2016 the World Health Organization (WHO) launched three new tools to count and review stillbirths, and maternal and neonatal deaths!

Browse the standardised system to capture and classify stillbirths and neonatal deaths in the WHO Application of the International Classification of Disease-10 to deaths during the perinatal period (ICD-PM).

Read the guide and toolkit, Making every baby count: audit and review of stillbirths and neonatal deaths. This publication assists countries to conduct audits and reviews to recommend and put into action solutions to prevent future stillbirths and neonatal deaths.

Explore Time to respond: a report on the global implementation of maternal death surveillance and response to review the findings of the WHO & UNFPA global survey of national MDSR systems in 2015.

Also…

Browse the press release and WHO website to learn more about these three tools, including related papers by the BJOG.

Read this Lancet commentary about all three publications.

Explore this photo story to learn more about MDSR implementation in ten countries around the world.

View this infographic about improving data to learn about what the WHO is doing to help countries save mothers’ and babies’ lives.

Do you know how many women each day experience a stillbirth worldwide? Browse this infographic on the tragedy of stillbirths to find out how many, and more!

MBRAACE-UK – Perinatal mortality surveillance report: UK perinatal deaths for births from January to December 2014

This report was published in May 2016 and is based on information collected of perinatal deaths in the UK for births from January to December 2014. The document focuses on deaths reported through the secure online reporting system, which include all late foetal losses (22nd to 23rd weeks of gestational age), stillbirths (a baby delivered at or after 24 weeks of gestational age with no signs of life) and neonatal deaths (a liveborn baby delivered at 20 weeks of gestational age or later, or weighing 400g or more when gestation is unavailable) who died within 28 days of being born.  The findings are displayed in mortality rates for stillbirths, neonatal deaths and extended perinatal deaths (both stillbirths and neonatal deaths). The report offers key findings and recommendations, as well as describing causes of death and factors that influence rates of perinatal death.

Perinatal mortality audit: counting, accountability, and overcoming challenges in scaling up in low- and middle-income countries

Pattinson et al (2009), published by the International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of perinatal mortality audit at the facility level in low- and middle-income countries. The results showed a reduction in perinatal mortality by 30% with the establishment of a perinatal audit system.

The findings suggest that an audit system may be helpful in reducing perinatal deaths in facilities and improving the quality of care. Pattinson and colleagues also reviewed information about community audits and verbal/social autopsy drawing on examples from Africa (Guinea and Uganda) and Asia (Uttar Pradesh, India). Furthermore, two country case studies were presented on scaling up perinatal audit in South Africa and Bangladesh.

The authors identify areas that merit further research and conclude that successful implementation of perinatal audit to improve the quality of care relies on closing the audit cycle.