Health care provider knowledge and routine management of pre-eclampsia in Pakistan

Sana Sheikh, Rahat Najam Qureshi, Asif Raza Khowaja, Rehana Salam, Marianne Vidler, Diane Sawchuck, Peter Von Dadelszen, Shujat Zaidi, Zulfiqar Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Maternal mortality ratio is 276 per 100,000 live births in Pakistan. Eclampsia is responsible for one in every ten maternal deaths despite the fact that management of this disease is inexpensive and has been available for decades. Many studies have shown that health care providers in low and middle-income countries have limited training to manage patients with eclampsia. Hence, we aimed to explore the knowledge of different cadres of health care providers regarding aetiology, diagnosis and treatment of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia and current management practices. Methods: We conducted a mixed method study in the districts of Hyderabad and Matiari in Sindh province, Pakistan. Focus group discussions and interviews were conducted with community health care providers, which included Lady Health Workers and their supervisors; traditional birth attendants and facility care providers. In total seven focus groups and 26 interviews were conducted. NVivo 10 was used for analysis and emerging themes and sub-themes were drawn. Results: All participants were providing care for pregnant women for more than a decade except one traditional birth attendant and two doctors. The most common cause of pre-eclampsia mentioned by community health care providers was stress of daily life: the burden of care giving, physical workload, short birth spacing and financial constraints. All health care provider groups except traditional birth attendants correctly identified the signs, symptoms, and complications of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia and were referring such women to tertiary health facilities. Only doctors were aware that magnesium sulphate is recommended for eclampsia management and prevention; however, they expressed fears regarding its use at first and secondary level health facilities. Conclusion: This study found several gaps in knowledge regarding aetiology, diagnosis and treatment of pre-eclampsia among health care providers in Sindh. Findings suggest that lesser knowledge regarding management of pre-eclampsia is due to lack of refresher trainings and written guidelines for management of pre-eclampsia and presentation of fewer pre-eclamptic patients at first and secondary level health care facilities. We suggest to include management of pre-eclampsia in regular trainings of health care providers and to provide management protocols at all health facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalReproductive Health
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2016


  • Community health services
  • Community health worker
  • Eclampsia
  • Health personnel
  • Pakistan
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Pregnancy


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