Who will be there when women deliver? Assuring retention of obstetric providers

  • Anderson F
  • Mutchnick I
  • Kwawukume E
 et al. 
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The Safe Motherhood Initiative has highlighted the need for improved health services with skilled attendants at delivery and the provision of emergency obstetric care. "Brain drain" has hampered this process and has been particularly prevalent in Ghana. Between 1993 and 2000, 68% of Ghanaian trained medical school graduates left the country. In 1989, postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology was established in Ghana, and as of November 2006, 37 of the 38 specialists who have completed the program have stayed in the country, most working in the public sector providing health care and serving as faculty. Interviews with graduates in 2002 found that the first and single-most important factor related to retention was the actual presence of a training program leading to specialty qualification in obstetrics and gynecology by the West African College of Surgeons. Economic and social factors also played major roles in a graduates' decision to stay in Ghana to practice. This model deserves replication in other countries that have a commitment to sustainable development, human resource and health services capacity building, and maternal mortality reduction. A network of University partnerships between departments of obstetrics and gynecology in developed and developing countries throughout the world sharing internet resources, clinical information, training curriculum and assessment techniques could be created. Grand rounds could be shared through teleconferencing, and faculty exchanges would build capacity for all faculty and enrich both institutions. Through new partnerships, creating opportunity for medical school graduates to become obstetrician-gynecologists may reduce brain drain and maternal mortality.

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