Rise of the “clinical officer”
What role do they have in improving Malawi’s obstetric healthcare?
- By: Alice Pearce
Maternal mortality is a health indicator that shows glaring differences between rich and poor around the world. Every day 800 women die in childbirth, 440 from sub Saharan Africa.1 Maternal mortality ratios are a stark reminder of how much work there is still to be done internationally to improve access to healthcare. The maternal mortality ratios for countries in sub Saharan Africa are particularly poor, with the ratio for Malawi standing at 460 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2010—compared with the United Kingdom where the rate is just 12 per 100 000.1
The primary maternal health strategies set by the United Nations include the prompt universal access to emergency obstetric care.2 Comprehensive emergency obstetric care includes the facilities for caesarean section and blood transfusion and is estimated to avert 75% of neonatal deaths caused by intrapartum events worldwide.3 But in a country with only 1.1 doctors and 25.5 nurses per