Experiences of a new cadre of midwives in Bangladesh: Findings from a mixed method study
Zaman, Rashid U.
Sabur, Muhammod Abdus
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Zaman, R.U., Khaled, A., Sabur, M.A., Islam, S., Ahmed, S., Varghese, J., Sherratt, D. and Witter, S. (2020) ‘Experiences of a new cadre of midwives in Bangladesh: findings from a mixed method study’, Human Resources for Health, 18(1), p. 73. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-020-00505-8.
Background Bangladesh did not have dedicated professional midwives in public sector health facilities until recently, when the country started a nation-wide programme to educate and deploy diploma midwives. The objective of the findings presented in this paper, which is part of a larger study, was to better understand the experience of the midwives of their education programme and first posting as a qualified midwife and to assess their midwifery knowledge and skills.Methods We applied a mixed method approach, which included interviewing 329 midwives and conducting 6 focus group discussions with 43 midwives and midwifery students. Sampling weights were used to generate representative statistics for the entire cohort of the midwives deployed in the public sector health facilities.Results Most of the midwives were satisfied with different dimensions of their education programme, with the exception of the level of exposure they had to the rural communities during their programme. Out of 329 midwives, 50% received tuition fee waivers, while 46% received funding for educational materials and 40% received free accommodation. The satisfaction with the various aspects of the current posting was high and nearly all midwives reported that a desire to work in the public sector in the long run. However, a significant proportion of the midwives expressed concerns with equipment, accommodation, transport and prospect of transfers. The scores on the knowledge test and self-reported skill levels were varied but reasonably high.Conclusion While the midwives are highly motivated, satisfied with many aspects of their current jobs and have adequate knowledge and skills, there are some bottlenecks and concerns that, if unaddressed, may derail the success of this programme. To capture the career progress of these midwives, additional research, including a follow-up study with the same cohort of midwives, would be beneficial to this programme.