n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Namibian midwife's experiences of using the partograph on labouring women in a region hospital

Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Childbirth carries risks for labouring women, especially when giving birth in rural health care facilities far from more advanced medical help. The partograph is a tool that was recommended by the WHO to monitor labour. It has been proven to be effective in identifying potential childbirth emergencies but is poorly utilized, with observations either not monitored or not documented. This results in midwives not identifying problems and not taking action, endangering mother and baby. Midwives working in a referral hospital reported that labouring women were often incorrectly referred, often due to incomplete or incorrectly plotted partographs. It was suspected that midwives experienced problems with utilizing the tool. The significance of the study was to determine the midwives' experiences of using partographs when monitoring labouring women, so that guidelines could be developed to improve its use. A qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual design was utilized. The research population consisted of ten midwives employed by a referral hospital in Namibia and was sampled purposively and conveniently. Data was gathered using semi-structured interviews that was content analysed. Trustworthiness was ensured using Guba's model. Throughout the study the ethical standards of fairness, beneficence, no-harm and respect for participants' rights were upheld. The findings revealed that although the midwives had a positive attitude to using the partograph, they experienced obstacles such as lack of skill or insufficient knowledge among midwives, completion of the document was time consuming, an unrealistic staff/patient ratio and lack of proper equipment. All of these were causal factors in discrepancies in plotting. Recommendations were made regarding in-service education, ensuring standardized plotting and staff ratios.

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