Factors associated with the awareness and practice of evidence-based obstetric care in an African setting


  • At the time of the study, A.T.N.T. was affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA

Dr ATN Tita, Center for Research in Women’s Health, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 618 20th Street South (OHB 458), Birmingham, AL 35233, USA. Email alan.tita@obgyn.uab.edu


Objective  To identify the factors associated with important (≥50%) variation in awareness and practice of evidence-based obstetric interventions in an African setting where we have previously reported poor awareness and use of evidence-based reproductive interventions.

Design  Cross-sectional analysis of data from our Reproductive Health Interventions Study.

Setting  North-west province, Cameroon, Africa.

Population  Health workers including obstetricians, other physicians, midwives, nurses and other staff providing reproductive care.

Main outcome measures  Prevalence ratios (PR) of uniform awareness and practice of four key evidence-based obstetric interventions from the World Health Organization Reproductive Health Library (WHO RHL): antiretrovirals to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS, antenatal corticosteroids for prematurity, uterotonics to prevent postpartum haemorrhage and magnesium sulphate for seizure prophylaxis.

Methods  Comparisons of descriptive covariates, applying logistic regression to estimate independent relationships with awareness and use of evidence-based interventions.

Results  A total of 15.5% (50/322) of health workers were aware of all the four interventions while only 3.8% (12/312) reported optimal practice. Evidence-based awareness was strongly associated with practice (PR = 15.4; 96% CI: 4.3–55.0). Factors significantly associated with awareness were: attending continuing education, access to the WHO RHL, employment as an obstetrician/gynaecologist and working in autonomous military or National Insurance Fund facilities. Controlling for potential confounding, working as an obstetrician was associated with increased awareness (adjusted prevalence odds ratio [aPOR] = 8.3; 95% CI: 1.3–53.8) as was median work experience of 5–15 years (aPOR = 2.0; 95% CI: 1.0–3.8). Internet access was associated with increased practice (aPOR = 3.4; 95% CI: 1.0–11.8). Other potentially important variations were observed, although they did not attain statistical significance.

Conclusions  Several factors including obstetric training and continuous education positively influence evidence-based awareness and practice of key obstetric interventions. Confirmation and application of this information may enhance the effectiveness of programmes to improve maternal and perinatal outcomes.