Improving women’s satisfaction with labour and delivery by improving doctors’ communication skills: a randomized trial in Syria

Abdulsalam Asmaa, Damascus University
Hyam Bashour, Damascus University
Salah Cheikha, Damascus University
Mayada Kharouf, Damascus University
Mohammed Tabbaa, Damascus University
Mona Kanaan, University of York

In order to provide high quality services in reproductive health, good doctor-patient communication is essential. Maternity care is an area of reproductive health in which the importance of good communication has received particular attention. Studies of women's views of maternity care suggest that good communication is central in determining whether women are satisfied with the care that they receive or not. Previous research in the Middle East by members of the regional research network known as Choices and Challenges in Changing Childbirth (CCCC) clearly highlighted the gap in interpersonal skills among doctors working in maternity wards. Research in Syria, for example, found that women lack critical information about their labor and delivery during a critical period in their lives. This paper will present findings from a stepped wedge randomized trial conducted in Damascus, Syria that aimed to test the effect of training residents in interpersonal and communication skills on women's satisfaction with their interaction with doctors in labor and delivery rooms, as well as to measure the change in communicative behavior of the residents after the training in communication skills. A total of 2000 mothers delivering in maternity wards throughout the country have been interviewed using a Likert scale questionanire during 5 rounds of measurement. Results from the survey on women’s satisfcation will be presented as well as that from the observation of the communicative behaviour of the doctors. Effects of the intervention will then be discussed in light of the findings. Implications for the practices of health professionals and for health care policies will also be discussed.

Presented in Session 104: Maternal health in the Arab world