Competent and skilled birth attendants are critical in the reduction of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality at delivery. This study aimed to determine the association between knowledge and self-rated confidence in facility birth attendants affiliated with maternal and neonatal health (MNH) interventions.
A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 24 primary healthcare facilities in Osun state, Nigeria among 128 consenting facility birth attendants who were selected via a multi-stage sampling technique. Each attendant received a semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaire. The dependent variables included the respondent’s level of knowledge in MNH interventions and their self-rated confidence in MNH skills such as the provision of antenatal care service, normal labour, use of a partograph and the management of obstetric complications and post-partum haemorrhage. Bivariate analysis of factors associated with knowledge and self-rated confidence in MNH skills was performed with statistical significance set at p<0.05.
Only 48 (37.5%) of the respondents had good knowledge of all of the assessed interventions; worse performances were reported with regards to the respondent’s knowledge of normal labour and partograph use. However, 96 (75%) of respondents were confident in performing 75% of the skills assessed. Our analysis identified two factors that were significantly associated with a good knowledge of MNH skills: the cadre of the birth attendants (p<0.001) and training in life-saving skills (p=0.001). The knowledge of our respondents relating to most of the MNH interventions assessed was not significantly associated with their self-rated confidence in the required skills.
The confidence of facility birth attendants in MNH skills was not knowledge-based and could frustrate national efforts to reduce maternal and perinatal deaths. We recommend effective and evidence-based training of all cadres of facility birth attendants to ensure that the skills being practiced clinically are based on adequate knowledge.