Using a scientific approach to improve early identification of complicated labour cases

In May 2016, the head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital (SSMCH) in Dhaka, Bangladesh initiated an effort to use improvement methods to increase the early identification of labour complications by increasing complete and correct use of partograph among the women who are at active labour.

A partograph is a tool to record progress during labour of critical statistics—such as cervical dilation, fetal heart rate, duration of labour, and vital signs—to quickly detect and manage high-risk deliveries. A baseline assessment showed that the partograph was being used in only 30% of the cases.

The hospital quality improvement (QI) team set a goal of increasing partograph use to 50% of deliveries in 8 weeks. Through the application of quality improvement methods, the team was able to meet—and exceed—their initial goal; increasing the use of partograph during delivery from 30% to 80% within 8 weeks.

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Report Author(s): 
Ankur Sooden
USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project/URC
ASSIST publication: 
ASSIST publication
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