TitleEvoking the guardian angel: childbirth care in a Palestinian hospital
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsHassan-Bitar, S, Wick, L
JournalReprod Health Matters
Date PublishedNov
ISBN Number0968-8080 (Print)<br/>0968-8080 (Linking)
Accession Number17938075
Keywords*Arabs, *Quality of Health Care, Adult, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Israel, Medical Audit, Observation, Obstetrical Nursing/*standards, Pregnancy, Referral and Consultation

The purpose of this study was to assess the quality of maternity care in a large, public, Palestinian referral hospital, as a first step in developing interventions to improve safety and quality of maternity care. Provider interviews, observation and interviews with women were used to understand the barriers to improved care and prepare providers to be receptive to change. Some of the inappropriate practices identified were forbidding female labour companions, routine use of oxytocin to accelerate labour, restriction of mobility during labour and frequent vaginal examinations. Magnesium sulfate was not used for pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, and post-partum haemorrhage was a frequent occurrence. Severe understaffing of midwives, insufficient supervision and lack of skills led to inadequate care. Use of evidence-based practices which promote normal labour is critical in settings where resources are scarce and women have large families. The report of this assessment and dissemination meetings with providers, hospital managers, policymakers and donors were a reality check for all involved, and an intervention plan to improve quality of care was approved. In spite of the ongoing climate of crisis and whatever else may be going on, women continue to give birth and to want kindness and good care for themselves and their newborns. This is perhaps where the opportunity for change should begin.