Background: Maternal mortality is an important public health problem in low-income countries. Delays in reaching health facilities and insufficient health care professionals call for innovative community-level solutions. There is limited evidence on the role of community health workers in the management of pregnancy complications. This study aimed to describe the feasibility of task-sharing the initial screening and initiation of obstetric emergency care for pre-eclampsia/eclampsia from the primary healthcare providers to community health workers in Mozambique and document healthcare facility preparedness to respond to referrals. Method: The study took place in Maputo and Gaza Provinces in southern Mozambique and aimed to inform the Community-Level Interventions for Pre-eclampsia (CLIP) cluster randomized controlled trial. This was a mixed-methods study. The quantitative data was collected through self-administered questionnaires completed by community health workers and a health facility survey; this data was analysed using Stata v13. The qualitative data was collected through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with various community groups, health care providers, and policymakers. All discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim prior to thematic analysis using QSR NVivo 10. Data collection was complemented by reviewing existing documents regarding maternal health and community health worker policies, guidelines, reports and manuals. Results: Community health workers in Mozambique were trained to identify the basic danger signs of pregnancy; however, they have not been trained to manage obstetric emergencies. Furthermore, barriers at health facilities were identified, including lack of equipment, shortage of supervisors, and irregular drug availability. All primary and the majority of secondary-level facilities (57%) do not provide blood transfusions or have surgical capacity, and thus such cases must be referred to the tertiary-level. Although most healthcare facilities (96%) had access to an ambulance for referrals, no transport was available from the community to the healthcare facility. Conclusions: This study showed that task-sharing for screening and pre-referral management of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia were deemed feasible and acceptable at the community-level, but an effort should be in place to address challenges at the health system level.
- Community health workers
- Maternal mortality