Understanding the Mechanisms of Change in the Supportive and Respectful Maternity Care Intervention in Sindh, Pakistan: Provider Perspectives

Bilal l Iqbal Avan, School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom
Waqas Hameed, Aga Khan University
Muhammad Asim, Aga Khan University
Sarah Saleem, Agha Khan University
Sameen Siddiqi, Aga Khan University
Bushra Khan, University of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan

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Introduction: We conducted this qualitative investigation to explore the mechanisms of change in providing respectful care resulting from the supportive and respectful maternity care intervention (S-RMC) in Sindh, Pakistan.
Methods: We applied the principles of realist evaluation methodology with a descriptive explanatory research design. We conducted in-depth interviews with 36 maternity care providers at secondary-level public health facilities where S-RMC was implemented for 6 months. The S-RMC broad components included capacity-building of maternity teams and systemic changes for improvements in governance and accountability within public health facilities. Data were analyzed using a deductive content analysis approach.
Results: We identified mechanisms of change, categorized by the S-RMC components: (1) S-RMC training: insight into women's feelings and rights, realization of the value that nonclinical staff can play, understanding of team coordination, orientation in psychosocial components of maternity care; (2) assessment of women's psychosocial vulnerabilities: identification of women's differential needs beyond routine care to provide woman-centered care; (3) psychosocial support: effective engagement with women and within maternity teams and the customization of woman- and companion-focused care; (4) care coordination: improved coordination among clinical and nonclinical staff to provide personalized care and psychosocial support and proper handover to ensure continuity of care; (5) assessment of quality of care: identification of service gaps from women's feedback; and (6) performance review and accountability: monthly performance review meetings to establish team member communication, systematic awareness of the maternity team's performance and challenges, and implementation of collective corrective actions.
Conclusion: Our findings pointed to S-RMC working along multiple pathways-and concertedly with various health system components-to enable positive processes and behavioral change in maternity teams.