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Availability and quality of emergency obstetric care in Gambia's main referral hospital: women-users' testimonies

, 1 , 2 , 1 , 3

Reproductive Health

BioMed Central

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      Abstract

      BackgroundReduction of maternal mortality ratio by two-thirds by 2015 is an international development goal with unrestricted access to high quality emergency obstetric care services promoted towards the attainment of that goal. The objective of this qualitative study was to assess the availability and quality of emergency obstetric care services in Gambia's main referral hospital.MethodsFrom weekend admissions a group of 30 women treated for different acute obstetric conditions including five main diagnostic groups: hemorrhage, hypertensive disorders, dystocia, sepsis and anemia were purposively selected. In-depth interviews with the women were carried out at their homes within two weeks of discharge.ResultsSubstantial difficulties in obtaining emergency obstetric care were uncovered. Health system inadequacies including lack of blood for transfusion, shortage of essential medicines especially antihypertensive drugs considerably hindered timely and adequate treatment for obstetric emergencies. Such inadequacies also inflated the treatment costs to between 5 and 18 times more than standard fees. Blood transfusion and hypertensive treatment were associated with the largest costs.ConclusionThe deficiencies in the availability of life-saving interventions identified are manifestations of inadequate funding for maternal health services. Substantial increase in funding for maternal health services is therefore warranted towards effective implementation of emergency obstetric care package in The Gambia.

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      Patient satisfaction: a review of issues and concepts.

      This review presents issues arising from an analysis of over 100 papers published in the field of patient satisfaction. The published output appearing in the medical and nursing literature which incorporated the term "patient satisfaction" rose to a peak of over 1000 papers annually in 1994, reflecting changes in service management especially in the U.K. and U.S.A. over the past decade. An introductory section discusses the setting and measurement of patient satisfaction within this wider context of changes in service delivery. Various models are examined that have attempted to define and interpret the idea of determining individual perceptions of the quality of health care delivered. Determinants of satisfaction are examined in relation to the literature on expectations, and demographic and psychosocial variables. These are distinguished from the multidimensional components of satisfaction as aspects of the delivery of care, identified by many authors. The review highlights the complexity and breadth of the literature in this field, the existence of which is often not acknowledged by researchers presenting the findings of studies.
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        The evidence for emergency obstetric care.

        We searched for evidence for the effectiveness of emergency obstetric care (EmOC) interventions in reducing maternal mortality primarily in developing countries. We reviewed population-based studies with maternal mortality as the outcome variable and ranked them according to the system for ranking the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations developed by the US Preventive Services Task Force. A systematic search of published literature was conducted for this review, including searches of Medline, PubMed, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Database and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register. The strength of the evidence is high in several studies with a design that places them in the second and third tier in the quality of evidence ranking system. No studies were found that are experimental in design that would give them a top ranking, due to the measurement challenges associated with maternal mortality, although many of the specific individual clinical interventions that comprise EmOC have been evaluated through experimental design. There is strong evidence based on studies, using quasi-experimental, observational and ecological designs, to support the contention that EmOC must be a critical component of any program to reduce maternal mortality.
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          The "three delays" as a framework for examining maternal mortality in Haiti.

          Haiti has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the Caribbean. The "Three Delays" model proposes that pregnancy-related mortality is overwhelmingly due to delays in: (1) deciding to seek appropriate medical help for an obstetric emergency; (2) reaching an appropriate obstetric facility; and (3) receiving adequate care when a facility is reached. This framework was used to analyze a sample of 12 maternal deaths that occurred in a longitudinal cohort of pregnant Haitian women. Because of political upheavals in Haiti during the survey, these deaths are an underestimate of all deaths that occurred in the cohort. Family and friend interviews were used to obtain details about the medical and social circumstances surrounding each death. A delayed decision to see medical care was noted in eight of the 12 cases, whereas delays in transportation only appeared to be significant in two. Inadequate care at a medical facility was a factor in seven cases. Multiple delays were relevant in the deaths of three women. Family and friend interviews suggest that a lack of confidence in available medical options was a crucial factor in delayed or never made decisions to seek care. Expanding the coverage of existing referral networks, improving community recognition of obstetric emergencies, and improving the ability of existing medical institutions to deliver quality obstetric care, are all necessary. However, services will continue to be under-utilized if they are perceived negatively by pregnant women and their families. The current data thus suggest that improvements to Haiti's maternity care system which focus on reducing the third delay--that is, improving the quality and scope of care available at existing medical facilities--will have the greatest impact in reducing needless maternal deaths.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Section for International Health, Institute of General Practice and Community Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway
            [2 ]Department of State for Health, Banjul, Gambia
            [3 ]National Resource Centre for Women's Health, Rikshospitalet Medical Centre, Oslo, Norway
            Contributors
            Journal
            Reprod Health
            Reproductive Health
            BioMed Central
            1742-4755
            2009
            14 April 2009
            : 6
            : 5
            2672064
            1742-4755-6-5
            19366451
            10.1186/1742-4755-6-5
            Copyright © 2009 Cham et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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