Up-skilling associate clinicians in Malawi in emergency obstetric, neonatal care and clinical leadership: the ETATMBA cluster randomised controlled trial

Ellard, David, Chimwaza, Wanangwa, Davies, David, Simkiss, Doug, Kamwendo, Francis, Mhango, Chisale, Quenby, Siobhan, Kandala, Ngianga-Bakwin and O'Hare, Joseph Paul (2016) Up-skilling associate clinicians in Malawi in emergency obstetric, neonatal care and clinical leadership: the ETATMBA cluster randomised controlled trial. BMJ Global Health, 1 (1). e000020. ISSN 2059-7908

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2015-000020

Abstract

Background:
The ETATMBA (Enhancing Training And Technology for Mothers and Babies in Africa) project-trained associate clinicians (ACs/clinical officers) as advanced clinical leaders in emergency obstetric and neonatal care. This trial aimed to evaluate the impact of training on obstetric health outcomes in Malawi.

Method:
A cluster randomised controlled trial with 14 districts of Malawi (8 intervention, 6 control) as units of randomisation. Intervention districts housed the 46 ACs who received the training programme. The primary outcome was district (health facility-based) perinatal mortality rates. Secondary outcomes included maternal mortality ratios, neonatal mortality rate, obstetric and birth variables. The study period was 2011–2013. Mortality rates/ratios were examined using an interrupted time series (ITS) to identify trends over time.

Results:
The ITS reveals an improving trend in perinatal mortality across both groups, but better in the control group (intervention, effect −3.58, SE 2.65, CI (−9.85 to 2.69), p=0.20; control, effect −17.79, SE 6.83, CI (−33.95 to −1.64), p=0.03). Maternal mortality ratios are seen to have improved in intervention districts while worsening in the control districts (intervention, effect −38.11, SE 50.30, CI (−157.06 to 80.84), p=0.47; control, effect 11.55, SE 87.72, CI (−195.87 to 218.98), p=0.90). There was a 31% drop in neonatal mortality rate in intervention districts while in control districts, the rate rises by 2%. There are no significant differences in the other secondary outcomes.

Conclusions:
This is one of the first randomised studies looking at the effect of structured training on health outcomes in this setting. Notwithstanding a number of limitations, this study suggests that up-skilling this cadre is possible, and could impact positively on health outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
X300 Academic studies in Education
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 14:57
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2017 23:46
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/27329

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