PERCEPTIONS OF PRIVATE SECTOR MIDWIVES AND OBSTETRICIANS REGARDING COLLABORATIVE MATERNITY CARE IN THE EASTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
The World Health Organization states that no region in the world is justified in having a caesarean section rate greater than 10 to 15% of the total number of live births. However, there has been an international increase in the rate of caesarean section deliveries and this is a concern to midwives globally. The increase is evident in South Africa and especially in the private sector and where it has been shown to be as high as 70% of the total number of live births per year. As a result, the South African public often perceives giving birth surgically as â€˜normalâ€™ and â€˜saferâ€™ than vaginal delivery. The lack of direct involvement of midwives in the care of pregnant women in the private sector is noted as one of the reasons related to the high caesarean section delivery rates. Hence, the objectives of the study were to explore and describe the perceptions of private sector midwives and obstetricians regarding the feasibility of collaboration in maternity care. The study followed a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive, contextual design. The research population included midwives and obstetricians in the private sector in the Eastern Cape. Non-probability, purposive sampling was employed using semi-structured one-to-one interviews for data collection. The study showed that midwives and obstetricians perceived a collaborative working relationship as being beneficial to maternity care. However, there are critical impediments that need to be addressed in order to achieve such a partnership. In conclusion, participants saw it possible for collaboration in midwifery care services with positive benefits to the women being attended to.
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