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A Mixed-Method Design Evaluation of the SAFE Obstetric Anaesthesia Course at 4 and 12–18 Months After Training in the Republic of Congo and Madagascar

Published: December 1, 2019

DOI 10.1213/ANE.0000000000004329

Categories: Obstetrics Anaesthesia

Language: English


BACKGROUND: Maternal mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is higher than in high-income countries (HICs), and poor anesthesia care is a contributing factor. Many anesthesia complications are considered preventable with adequate training. The Safer Anaesthesia From Education Obstetric Anaesthesia (SAFE-OB) course was designed as a refresher course to upgrade the skills of anesthesia providers in low-income countries, but little is known about the long-term impact of the course on changes in practice. We report changes in practice at 4 and 12–18 months after SAFE-OB courses in Madagascar and the Republic of Congo. METHODS: We used a concurrent embedded mixed-methods design based on the Kirkpatrick model for evaluating educational training courses. The primary outcome was qualitative determination of personal and organizational change at 4 months and 12–18 months. Secondary outcomes were quantitative evaluations of knowledge and skill retention over time. From 2014 to 2016, 213 participants participated in 5 SAFE-OB courses in 2 countries. Semistructured interviews were conducted at 4 and 12–18 months using purposive sampling and analyzed using thematic content analysis. Participants underwent baseline knowledge and skill assessment, with 1 cohort reevaluated using repeat knowledge and skills tests at 4 months and another at 12–18 months. RESULTS: At 4 months, 2 themes of practice change (Kirkpatrick level 3) emerged that were not present at 12–18 months: neonatal resuscitation and airway management. At 12–18 months, 4 themes emerged: management of obstetric hemorrhage, management of eclampsia, using a structured approach to assessing a pregnant woman, and management of spinal anesthesia. With respect to organizational culture change (Kirkpatrick level 4), the same 3 themes emerged at both 4 and 12–18 months: improved teamwork, communication, and preparation. Resistance from peers, lack of senior support, and lack of resources were cited as barriers to change at 4 months, but at 12–18 months, very few interviewees mentioned lack of resources. Identified catalysts for change were self-motivation, credibility, peer support, and senior support. Knowledge and skills tests both showed an immediate improvement after the course that was sustained. This supports the qualitative responses suggesting personal and organizational change. CONCLUSIONS: Participation at a SAFE-OB course in the Republic of Congo and in Madagascar was associated with personal and organizational changes in practice and sustained improvements in knowledge and skill at 12–18 months.