A Criterion - based audit of Postnatal services given to Mothers and newborns within 24 hours of birth in the general hospital in western Uganda
Abstract Background: Postnatal care is a key global intervention and a major safe motherhood initiative recommended for reducing maternal and neonatal mortality globally. Criterion-based audit helps measure the quality of postnatal care reliably and checks adherence to World Health Organization criteria and standards. This study assessed the quality of postnatal care services offered to mothers and their babies within 24 hours using a baseline Criterion-based audit at the general hospital. Methods: Mixed methods used on a facility Criterion-based audit with descriptive cross-sectional and explorative study design. Study population comprised of quarterly recorded and reviewed maternal postnatal files. A questionnaire and key informant interview guide were used. A systematic sampling technique was used for selecting files while key informants were selected purposively. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 20. Qualitative data was transcribed using related concepts to form themes and sub themes. Results: 248 files reviewed. Assessment of the mothers and their babies within one hour after birth almost met the WHO standards in all the parameters except after birth pains and incision site for cesarean mothers. Within 6 hours, assessments fell far below the WHO criteria and standards, including records of potentially life-threatening conditions and information shared upon discharge. No mental health information was shared upon discharge. Immediate care of the newborn almost met the WHO criteria and standards except for stimulation of the baby, use of ambu bag and mask, and use of resuscitation drugs. Six hours and subsequently the standards were not met (head circumference, temperature, bladder and bowel function, color of the eyes, cord checked and skin color), including records of potentially life-threatening conditions. Information on discharge was shared except delayed bath and continuity of prescribed treatment. Factors associated with quality of postnatal care included lack of guidelines, understaffing, inadequate sundries and equipment. Conclusion and recommendations: Assessment of the mothers and their babies after six hours of birth did not meet the WHO criteria and standards. Criterion-Based Audit of postnatal services in this study revealed that attention was given in improving the quality of postnatal care than it did before through, adopting WHO guidelines for postnatal care, improving the staffing levels and their general welfare. Criterion-based Audits can be used in other maternity departments like antenatal clinic and labour ward to assess quality of care.