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J Midwifery Womens Health. 2016 Jan-Feb;61(1):103-11. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.12396.

Utilizing Task Shifting to Increase Access to Maternal and Infant Health Interventions: A Case Study of Midwives for Haiti.

Abstract

The shortage of health workers worldwide has been identified as a barrier to achieving targeted health goals. Task shifting has been recommended by the World Health Organization to increase access to trained and skilled birth attendants. One example of task shifting is the use of cadres of health care workers, such as nurses and auxiliary nurse-midwives, who can successfully deliver skilled care to women and infants in low-resource areas where women would otherwise lack access to critical health interventions during the childbearing years. Midwives for Haiti is an organization demonstrating the use of task shifting in its education program for auxiliary midwives. Graduates of the Midwives for Haiti education program are employed and working with women in hospitals, birth centers, and clinics across Haiti. This article reviews the Midwives for Haiti education program and presents successes and challenges in task shifting as a strategy to increase access to skilled maternal and newborn care and to meet international health goals to reduce maternal and infant mortality in a low-resource country.

KEYWORDS:

global health; health care workforce; maternal and infant mortality; midwifery education; task shifting

PMID:
26824199
DOI:
10.1111/jmwh.12396
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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