Burnet support for WHO Labour Care Guide

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Labour Care Guide (LCG) has been strongly endorsed by a Burnet-led evaluation for its feasibility and acceptability across a range of clinical settings.

The WHO LCG is a next generation partograph – a clinical tool used by maternity care providers to monitor and manage labour – based on WHO’s latest intrapartum care recommendations.

The LCG strongly emphasises the provision of timely, women-centred care to women giving birth. This includes ensuring a woman is coping well, has a birth companion, is encouraged to move around during labour and adopt a birth position of her choice.

Published in the journal Birth, the evaluation of the LCG’s usability, feasibility and acceptability among skilled health personnel focused on 12 hospitals in six countries – Argentina, India, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, and Tanzania.

A total of 136 doctors, midwives and nurses were trained in how to use the LCG and to manage the births of 1,226 women. Most of these women (91.6 percent) had a spontaneous vaginal birth and there were only two stillbirths.

Study lead author, Burnet Principal Research Fellow, Associate Professor Joshua Vogel said provider satisfaction with the LCG was high.

“We had very positive feedback from providers who felt that the Labour Care Guide was a great tool for supporting women during labour and childbirth, it encouraged them to think critically about how to manage labour and that it improved the provision of women-centred care,” Associate Professor Vogel said.

“Our evaluation conclusively demonstrated that the LCG is feasible and acceptable to use in a range of settings internationally.”

“On the basis of our findings, WHO has also made some improvements to the design of the Labour Care Guide to enable its use internationally. WHO will release the LCG later this year.”

A key conclusion of the evaluation was that implementation of the LCG should be accompanied by measures to support maternity care providers to deliver the best possible care. This includes training and supportive supervision, ensuring staff have the supplies and equipment they need and updating hospital policies on respectful maternity care.

“The Labour Care Guide was used successfully in over 1200 women across 6 different countries, reflecting how it can be used in a range of settings, even in resource-limited settings,” Associate Professor Vogel said.

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