Scope of practice and workload of nurse-midwives in low and middle income countries, using Bangladesh and Malawi as case examples

Mother and baby

This research is important as international attention increasingly recognises that that midwives are “the single most critical person for effective care at the time of birth” (Lawn et al 2009) and that in countries with the best pregnancy outcomes, midwives are the primary providers of care to pregnant women (Hatem et al 2008).

However, although maternal and newborn mortality rates have reached an historical low level, 92% of all maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths occur in 73 low and middle income countries.Significantly, in these countries, there is also chronic shortage of skilled midwives (UNFPA 2014). This is contrary to the ideal that a certified midwife should attended every birth (Save the Children 2011) and be supported by a functioning health system (WHO 2004).

The aim of the research is to understand the type of work/tasks and the workload of midwives and nurse-midwives in low and middle income countries. The field work for this part of the research will focus on Bangladesh and Malawi.

Awarded an International Fellowship Award (2015) funded by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Wellbeing of Women (WOW) for fieldwork in Bangladesh.