Nursing and midwifery research output in Africa: A review of the literature

Rose Chalo Nabirye, Alison Annet Kinengyere, Grace Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Nurses and midwives form the backbone of health service delivery and satisfaction with care often depends on the competencies of nurses and midwives who provide the care (World Health Organization [WHO], 2002). Healthcare has become complex, challenging, and demanding across diverse sociocultural and socioeconomic changes and environments. To optimize their impact, nurses and midwives therefore need to be prepared with evidence-based competences. Nursing research therefore, is the cornerstone for evidence-based practice and for establishing the professional status of nursing and building research capacity. However, although nursing research began in the 19th century, it is limited in Africa, with little evidence generated to inform policy and practice. Although nursing and midwifery education in the region has advanced with graduate and postgraduate level education, little is known about nursing and midwifery research conducted in universities and where to find such research. OBJECTIVES: The literature review aimed at quantifying and identifying the types and gaps in nursing and midwives’ research and publications in Africa. METHODS: Articles published between January 1, 2007 and January 31, 2017 were retrieved from PubMed and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) with a search strategy that employed four sets of terms: (a) terms identifying published research done by nurses or midwives, or both; (b) terms identifying types of publications; (c) terms identifying filters for African countries; and (d) filters for publication dates. We also searched Google Scholar to capture nonindexed sources. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: There is evidence of an increasing number of African nurses and midwives publishing research; however, much of this research may not be readily available. The promotion of nursing research and capacity building/mentorship in research for nurses and midwives is recommended to increase nurses’ and midwives’ skills to critically evaluate research and apply the best evidence to their practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Childbirth
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Africa
  • Midwife
  • Midwifery
  • Nurse
  • Nursing
  • Nursing research


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