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Assisted vaginal delivery in low and middle income countries: An overview

by on January 8, 2018

Assisted vaginal delivery in low and middle income countries: An overviewObjective
To assess the use of assisted vaginal delivery (AVD) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), highlighting what level of care procedures were performed and identifying systemic barriers to its use.

Main outcome measures
Percentage of facilities where health workers performed AVD in the 3 months prior to the assessment, instrument preference, which health workers performed the procedure, and reasons AVD was not practiced.

Results
Fewer than 20% of facilities in Latin America reported performing AVD in the last 3 months. In sub-Saharan Africa, 53% of 1728 hospitals had performed AVD but only 6% of nearly 10 000 health centres had done so. It was not uncommon to find <1% of institutional births delivered by AVD. Vacuum extraction appears preferred over forceps. Lack of equipment and trained health workers were the most frequent reasons for non-performance.

Conclusions
The low use of AVD in LMICs is in contrast with many high-income countries, where high caesarean rates are also associated with significant rates of AVD. In many LMICs, rising caesarean rates have not been associated with maintenance of skills and practice of AVD. AVD is underused precisely in countries where pregnant women continue to face hardships accessing emergency obstetric care and where caesarean delivery can be relatively unsafe.

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