The role and scope of practice of midwives in humanitarian settings: a systematic review and content analysis

Kristen Beek, Alison McFadden (Lead / Corresponding author), Angela Dawson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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Abstract

Background: Midwives have an essential role to play in preparing for and providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in humanitarian settings due to their unique knowledge and skills, position as frontline providers and geographic and social proximity to the communities they serve. There are considerable gaps in the international guidance that defines the scope of practice of midwives in crises, particularly for the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases. We undertook a systematic review to provide further clarification of this scope of practice and insights to optimise midwifery performance. The review aimed to determine what SRH services midwives are involved in delivering across the emergency management cycle in humanitarian contexts, and how they are working with other professionals to deliver health care.

Methods: Four electronic databases and the websites of 33 organisations were searched between January and March 2017. Papers were eligible for inclusion if they were published in English between 2007 and 2017 and reported primary research pertaining to the role of midwives in delivering and performing any component of sexual and/or reproductive health in humanitarian settings. Content analysis was used to map the study findings to the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for SRH across the three phases of the disaster management cycle and identify how midwives work with other members of the health care team.

Results: Fourteen studies from ten countries were included. Twelve studies were undertaken in conflict settings, and two were conducted in the context of the aftermath of natural disasters. We found a paucity of evidence from the research literature that examines the activities and roles undertaken by midwives across the disaster management cycle. This lack of evidence was more apparent during the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases than the response phase of the disaster management cycle.

Conclusion: Research-informed guidelines and strategies are required to better align the scope of practice of midwives with the objectives of multi-agency guidelines and agreements, as well as the activities of the MISP, to ensure that the potential of midwives can be acknowledged and optimised across the disaster management cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Resources for Health
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2019

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midwife
Midwifery
content analysis
Reproductive Health
Disasters
disaster
Reproductive Health Services
management
health service
health care
Research
Guidelines
Patient Care Team
health
evidence
website
natural disaster
inclusion
electronics
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Keywords

  • Disaster management cycle
  • Humanitarian settings
  • Midwives
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Systematic review
  • Task-sharing
  • Task-shifting
  • Health Services
  • Relief Work
  • Reproductive Health
  • Humans
  • Sexual Health
  • Midwifery
  • Patient Care Team
  • Professional Role
  • Altruism
  • Nurse Midwives
  • Reproductive Health Services
  • Pregnancy
  • Disasters
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Personnel
  • Female

Cite this

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abstract = "Background: Midwives have an essential role to play in preparing for and providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in humanitarian settings due to their unique knowledge and skills, position as frontline providers and geographic and social proximity to the communities they serve. There are considerable gaps in the international guidance that defines the scope of practice of midwives in crises, particularly for the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases. We undertook a systematic review to provide further clarification of this scope of practice and insights to optimise midwifery performance. The review aimed to determine what SRH services midwives are involved in delivering across the emergency management cycle in humanitarian contexts, and how they are working with other professionals to deliver health care.Methods: Four electronic databases and the websites of 33 organisations were searched between January and March 2017. Papers were eligible for inclusion if they were published in English between 2007 and 2017 and reported primary research pertaining to the role of midwives in delivering and performing any component of sexual and/or reproductive health in humanitarian settings. Content analysis was used to map the study findings to the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for SRH across the three phases of the disaster management cycle and identify how midwives work with other members of the health care team.Results: Fourteen studies from ten countries were included. Twelve studies were undertaken in conflict settings, and two were conducted in the context of the aftermath of natural disasters. We found a paucity of evidence from the research literature that examines the activities and roles undertaken by midwives across the disaster management cycle. This lack of evidence was more apparent during the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases than the response phase of the disaster management cycle.Conclusion: Research-informed guidelines and strategies are required to better align the scope of practice of midwives with the objectives of multi-agency guidelines and agreements, as well as the activities of the MISP, to ensure that the potential of midwives can be acknowledged and optimised across the disaster management cycle.",
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The role and scope of practice of midwives in humanitarian settings : a systematic review and content analysis. / Beek, Kristen; McFadden, Alison (Lead / Corresponding author); Dawson, Angela.

In: Human Resources for Health, Vol. 17, No. 1, 5, 14.01.2019, p. 1-16.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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T1 - The role and scope of practice of midwives in humanitarian settings

T2 - a systematic review and content analysis

AU - Beek, Kristen

AU - McFadden, Alison

AU - Dawson, Angela

N1 - This study was supported by a University of Technology Sydney Key Technology Partnership grant.

PY - 2019/1/14

Y1 - 2019/1/14

N2 - Background: Midwives have an essential role to play in preparing for and providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in humanitarian settings due to their unique knowledge and skills, position as frontline providers and geographic and social proximity to the communities they serve. There are considerable gaps in the international guidance that defines the scope of practice of midwives in crises, particularly for the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases. We undertook a systematic review to provide further clarification of this scope of practice and insights to optimise midwifery performance. The review aimed to determine what SRH services midwives are involved in delivering across the emergency management cycle in humanitarian contexts, and how they are working with other professionals to deliver health care.Methods: Four electronic databases and the websites of 33 organisations were searched between January and March 2017. Papers were eligible for inclusion if they were published in English between 2007 and 2017 and reported primary research pertaining to the role of midwives in delivering and performing any component of sexual and/or reproductive health in humanitarian settings. Content analysis was used to map the study findings to the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for SRH across the three phases of the disaster management cycle and identify how midwives work with other members of the health care team.Results: Fourteen studies from ten countries were included. Twelve studies were undertaken in conflict settings, and two were conducted in the context of the aftermath of natural disasters. We found a paucity of evidence from the research literature that examines the activities and roles undertaken by midwives across the disaster management cycle. This lack of evidence was more apparent during the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases than the response phase of the disaster management cycle.Conclusion: Research-informed guidelines and strategies are required to better align the scope of practice of midwives with the objectives of multi-agency guidelines and agreements, as well as the activities of the MISP, to ensure that the potential of midwives can be acknowledged and optimised across the disaster management cycle.

AB - Background: Midwives have an essential role to play in preparing for and providing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in humanitarian settings due to their unique knowledge and skills, position as frontline providers and geographic and social proximity to the communities they serve. There are considerable gaps in the international guidance that defines the scope of practice of midwives in crises, particularly for the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases. We undertook a systematic review to provide further clarification of this scope of practice and insights to optimise midwifery performance. The review aimed to determine what SRH services midwives are involved in delivering across the emergency management cycle in humanitarian contexts, and how they are working with other professionals to deliver health care.Methods: Four electronic databases and the websites of 33 organisations were searched between January and March 2017. Papers were eligible for inclusion if they were published in English between 2007 and 2017 and reported primary research pertaining to the role of midwives in delivering and performing any component of sexual and/or reproductive health in humanitarian settings. Content analysis was used to map the study findings to the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for SRH across the three phases of the disaster management cycle and identify how midwives work with other members of the health care team.Results: Fourteen studies from ten countries were included. Twelve studies were undertaken in conflict settings, and two were conducted in the context of the aftermath of natural disasters. We found a paucity of evidence from the research literature that examines the activities and roles undertaken by midwives across the disaster management cycle. This lack of evidence was more apparent during the mitigation and preparedness, and recovery phases than the response phase of the disaster management cycle.Conclusion: Research-informed guidelines and strategies are required to better align the scope of practice of midwives with the objectives of multi-agency guidelines and agreements, as well as the activities of the MISP, to ensure that the potential of midwives can be acknowledged and optimised across the disaster management cycle.

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KW - Patient Care Team

KW - Professional Role

KW - Altruism

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KW - Reproductive Health Services

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KW - Disasters

KW - Delivery of Health Care

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