Strengthening pre-service training for skilled birth attendance: An evaluation of the maternal and child health aide training programme in Sierra Leone.

Susan Jones, Betty Sam, Florence Bull, Margaret James, Charles A. Ameh, Nynke van den Broek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The high maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone combined with an ongoing shortage of midwives has led to the introduction of new cadres of healthcare workers. Maternal and Child Health Aides are one such cadre and now provide 56% of patient care. The quality of the education training programme for MCHA is therefore of paramount importance if high quality maternal care is to be provided.

To conduct an evaluation of the MCHAide training programme in Sierra Leone.

Mapping of programme and focus group discussions (FGDs) with key informants. Analysis of data using a thematic approach and formulation of recommendations for national, district and individual levels.

All 14 MCHAide schools across Sierra Leone.

The National Coordinator, Coordinators from 14 MCHAide schools and District Health Sisters from District Health Management Teams.

Focus group discussions were held with tutors facilitated by a group member to encourage a free flowing discussion. Participants were divided into 4 groups, one for each province, with 5–8 participants per group and 50 min for the discussion.

Strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of the MCHAide training programme were identified. Four major themes were identified; the need for autonomy and support within the programme from stakeholders; the effect of poor infrastructure on teaching and student learning; the need to ensure rigorous academic quality including teaching quality, curricula content and the academic ability of the students; and the benefits of community support.

It is important that the key personnel be involved in the development and introduction of training programmes for new cadres of staff from the earliest stages of development. On-going programme review and development is essential and those implementing the programme are the best placed to lead and contribute to this. Gathering the experiences and perceptions of key informants helps provide an in-depth examination that can inform recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-29
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Early online date29 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


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