Quality of pre-service midwifery education in public and private midwifery schools in Afghanistan: a cross sectional survey.

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    • Abstract:
      Background: Midwives are the key skilled birth attendants in Afghanistan. Rapid assessment of public and private midwifery education schools was conducted in 2017 to examine compliance with national educational standards. The aim was to assess midwifery education to inform Afghanistan Nurses and Midwives Council and other stakeholders on priorities for improving quality of midwifery education. Methods: A cross-sectional assessment of midwifery schools was conducted from September 12–December 17, 2017. The Midwifery Education Rapid Assessment Tool was used to assess 29 midwifery programs related to infrastructure, management, teachers, preceptors, clinical practice sites, curriculum and students. A purposive sample of six Institute of Health Sciences schools, seven Community Midwifery Education schools and 16 private midwifery schools was used. Participants were midwifery school staff, students and clinical preceptors. Results: Libraries were available in 28/29 (97%) schools, active skills labs in 20/29 (69%), childbirth simulators in 17/29 (59%) and newborn resuscitation models in 28/29 (97%). School managers were midwives in 21/29 (72%) schools. Median numbers of students per teacher and students per preceptor were 8 (range 2–50) and 6 (range 2–20). There were insufficient numbers of teachers practicing midwifery (132/163; 81%), trained in teaching skills (113/163; 69%) and trained in emergency obstetric and newborn care (88/163; 54%). There was an average of 13 students at clinical sites in each shift. Students managed an average of 15 births independently during their training, while 40 births are required. Twenty-four percent (7/29) of schools used the national 2015 curriculum alone or combined with an older one. Ninety-one percent (633/697) of students reported access to clinical sites and skills labs. Students mentioned, however, insufficient clinical practice due to low case-loads in clinical sites, lack of education materials, transport facilities and disrespect from school teachers, preceptors and clinical site providers as challenges. Conclusions: Positive findings included availability of required infrastructure, amenities, approved curricula in 7 of the 29 midwifery schools, appropriate clinical sites and students' commitment to work as midwives upon graduation. Gaps identified were use of different often outdated curricula, inadequate clinical practice, underqualified teachers and preceptors and failure to graduate all students with sufficient skills such as independently having supported 40 births. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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