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A descriptive analysis of knowledge and skills of midwives in monitoring progress of labour using a partograph in selected hospitals at eThekwini District in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Introduction Midwives are recognised as principal protagonists in achieving their objectives and therefore priority must be given to ensuring the quality of the education and training of midwives, as well as to making sure that sufficient midwives are trained to meet the needs of the population. If midwives are well trained, properly equipped and supported, this could result in a reduction of maternal and neonatal deaths. The World Health Organisation has advocated the use of the Partograph as a simple technology to be used by obstetricians and midwives to monitor the progress of labour, and to ensure that intervention takes place as soon as necessary to prevent complications such as obstructed labour; leading to prolonged labour, uterine rupture, post-partum haemorrhage and puerperal sepsis. Purpose of the study The purpose of this study was to analyse and describe the knowledge and skills of midwives in monitoring the progress of labour using the Partograph in eThekwini District, KwaZulu-Natal. Methodology A quantitative descriptive study design was used to describe and analyse the knowledge and skills of midwives in monitoring the progress of labour using the Partograph. A face-to-face recruitment method was used during data collection, as the researcher visited and introduced herself at three selected hospitals. Questionnaires were used to assess the midwives’ knowledge and skills regarding the use of the Partograph while monitoring the progress of labour Sampling and Sampling design In this study, stratified sampling, then simple random sampling were used in order to get the participants from the population of three selected hospitals (Hospital A, B, and C). Sample size was calculated based on the Confidence level of 97%, the margin of error of 3%, and the variability of 50%, hence the sample size was 200. Data analysis The data was checked for completeness and each questionnaire was coded. The researcher used the IBM SPSS STATISTICS 24 to analyse the data. The results were presented in terms of frequencies, using tables and pie chart displays. Descriptive and inferential statistics applied. Descriptive statistics include: frequency, and means and standard deviations to summarize variables, while inferential statistics (chi-square) also used to test the significance of association between two categorical variables. The level of significance was set at P<0.05. Ethical consideration Permission was obtained from the KwaZulu-Natal department of Health Research Committee, as well as the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee at University of KwaZulu-Natal. The researcher also obtained the permission to conduct the study from the Management of the three selected hospitals at eThekwini District. An informed consent was obtained from the participants before distributing the questionnaire. Results This study had a population of two hundred and thirty four (234) participants from all three hospitals, two hundred (200) of registered midwives were selected for the sample size of the study from all three selected hospitals. Out of two hundred research instruments distributed, only one hundred and twenty two (122) were completed and returned, making a response rate of 61%. The reasons for this decreased response rate were: some midwives were on annual, sick and maternity leave; others were involved in administrative work or attending women in labour. A number of midwives did not also want to respond to the research instrument. Data from this study revealed that 93.4% (n=114) of participants were females and 6.6% (n=8) males, majority of 97.5% (n= 119) participants were African. The participants’ ages ranged from 21 to 65 years, most participants were basic midwives 45.1%, (n=55) with a Diploma in nursing 73.8% (n=90). 36.9% (n=45) of participants had a professional years of experience of less than five years. Conclusion The aim of the study was to analyse and describe the knowledge and skills of midwives in monitoring the progress of labour using the partograph. In the final analysis, it was realized that the midwives were highly aware of the use and the effect of the partograph. They know the components of the partograph and its utilization which is within their ability to practice.


Master of Nursing. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2017.