Increasing the proportion of deliveries with skilled attendance is widely regarded as key to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity in developing countries. The percentage of deliveries with a health professional is commonly used to assess skilled attendance, but measures only the presence of an attendant, not the skills used or the enabling environment. To supplement currently available information on the presence of an attendant at delivery, a method to measure the extent of skilled attendance at delivery through use of clinical records was devised. Data were collected from 416 delivery records in hospitals, government health centres and private non-hospital maternity facilities servicing Kintampo District, Ghana, using a case extraction form. Based on the defined criteria, summary measures of skilled attendance were calculated. Between 32.6% and 93.0% of the criteria for skilled attendance were met in the sample, with a mean of 65.5%. No delivery met all the criteria. A Skilled Attendance Index (SAI) was developed as a composite measure of delivery care. The SAI revealed that 26.9% of delivery records met at least three-quarters of the criteria for skilled attendance. Documentation of haemoglobin, current pregnancy complications, post-partum vital signs and completed partographs were amongst the criteria most poorly recorded. The purpose of applying these measures should be seen not as an end in itself but to advance improvements in delivery care.
Nazzar, A.; Adjei, S.; Hussein, J.; Bell, J.; Abbey, M.; Graham, W.J. The skilled attendance index: proposal for a new measure of skilled attendance at delivery. Reproductive Health Matters (2004) 12 (24) 160-170.