Health professionals’ experiences and views on obstetric ultrasound in Rwanda: A cross-sectional study

Sophia Holmlund, Joseph Ntaganira, Kristina Edvardsson, Pham Thi Lan, Jean Paul Semasaka Sengoma, Hussein Lesio Kidanto, Matilda Ngarina, Rhonda Small, Ingrid Mogren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Implementation of ultrasound in antenatal care (ANC) in low-income countries has been shown to increase pregnant women’s compliance with ANC visits, and facilitate detection of high-risk pregnancies. In Rwanda, as in other low-income countries, access to ultrasound has increased significantly, but lack of training is often a barrier to its use. The aim of this study was to investigate Rwandan health professionals’ experiences and views of obstetric ultrasound in relation to clinical management, resources and skills. Methods A cross-sectional questionnaire study was undertaken between November 2016 and March 2017, as part of the CROss Country UltraSound Study (CROCUS). Data were collected at 108 health facilities located in both rural and urban areas of Rwanda, including provincial, referral, district and private hospitals as well as health centres. Participants were obstetricians (n = 29), other physicians (n = 222), midwives (n = 269) and nurses (n = 387). Results Obstetricians/gynecologists/other physicians commonly performed ultrasound examinations but their self-rated skill levels implied insufficient training. Access to ultrasound when needed was reported as common in hospitals, but available to a very limited extent in health centres. The vast majority of participants, independent of health profession, agreed that maternity care would improve if midwives learned to perform basic ultrasound examinations. Conclusions Barriers to provision of high quality ultrasound services include variable access to ultrasound depending on health facility level and insufficient skills of ultrasound operators. Physicians in general need more training to perform ultrasound examinations. Implementation of a general dating ultrasound examination seems to be a relevant goal as most health professionals agree that pregnant woman would benefit from this service. To further improve maternity care services, the possibility of educating midwives to perform ultrasound examinations should be further explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0208387
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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