Capacity building of skilled birth attendants: A review of pre-service education curricula.

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Adegoke, Adetoro ; Mani, Safiyanu ; Abubakar, Aisha ; Van Den Broek, Nynke (2013)

OBJECTIVE: to assess the level, type and content of pre-service education curricula of health workers providing maternity services against the ICM global standards for Midwifery Education and Essential competencies for midwifery practice. We reviewed the quality and relevance of pre-service education curricula of four cadres of health-care providers of maternity care in Northern Nigeria.\ud DESIGN AND SETTING: we adapted and used the ICM global standards for Midwifery Education and Essential competencies for midwifery practice to design a framework of criteria against which we assessed curricula for pre-service training. We reviewed the pre-service curricula for Nurses, Midwives, Community Health Extension Workers (CHEW) and Junior Community Health Extension Workers (JCHEW) in three states. Criteria against which the curricula were evaluated include: minimum entry requirement, the length of the programme, theory: practice ratio, curriculum model, minimum number of births conducted during training, clinical experience, competencies, maximum number of students allowable and proportion of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health components (MNCH) as part of the total curriculum.\ud FINDINGS: four pre-service education programmes were reviewed; the 3 year basic midwifery, 3 year basic nursing, 3 year Community Health Extension Worker (CHEW) and 2 year Junior Community Health Extension Worker (JCHEW) programme. Findings showed that, none of these four training curricula met all the standards. The basic midwifery curriculum most closely met the standards and competencies set out. The nursing curriculum showed a strong focus on foundations of nursing practice, theories of nursing, public health and maternal newborn and child health. This includes well-defined modules on family health which are undertaken from the first year to the third year of the programme. The CHEW and JCHEW curricula are currently inadequate with regard to training health-care workers to be skilled birth attendants.\ud KEY CONCLUSIONS: although the midwifery curriculum most closely reflects the ICM global standards for Midwifery Education and Essential competencies for midwifery practice, a revision of the competencies and content is required especially as it relates to the first year of training. There is an urgent need to modify the JCHEW and CHEW curricula by increasing the content and clinical hands-on experience of MNCH components of the curricula. Without effecting these changes, it is doubtful that graduates of the CHEW and JCHEW programmes have the requisite competencies needed to function adequately as skilled birth attendants in Health Centres, PHCs and MCHs, without direct supervision of a midwife or medical doctor with midwifery skills.
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