Qualitative assessment of patient-provider communication and provider reporting on misclassification of stillbirths and early neonatal deaths in Ethiopia

Andreea A. CREANGA, Madeline WOO, Abiy SEIFU ESTIFANOS, Hanna FELEKE, Dorka WOLDESENBET, Eskinder KEBEDE, Habibat A Oguntade, Li LIU, Mahlet Y. GEBREMARIAM

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Poor communication between patients and providers can lead to misunderstanding and misclassification of clinical information, including pregnancy outcomes by women. This qualitative study with maternity care providers explores patient-provider communications regarding stillbirths (SB) and early neonatal deaths (END) and potential SB-END misclassification in Ethiopia. METHODS: Qualitative data were collected through 8 in-depth interviews and 3 focus group discussions with maternity care providers at Tikur Anbessa and Gandhi Memorial hospitals in Addis-Ababa. RESULTS: Twenty-six maternity care providers (10 physicians;16 nurses/midwives) were interviewed. Providers noted that high patient loads negatively influence their provision of quality care to patients. Yet, despite patients generally not asking many questions during their delivery hospitalization, maternity care providers reported offering information about pregnancy outcomes at hospital discharge. The level of education was the most cited factor influencing patients' understanding of the information communicated to them, especially with regard to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Respondents reported that women do not have significant misconceptions about either SB or END. Nevertheless, they also revealed that both purposeful and accidental SB-END misclassification occurs. Reports of the direction of such misclassification differed by type of provider - physicians noted that misclassification of SB as END is most common, while nurses and midwives identified the opposite direction for this type of misclassification. CONCLUSIONS: Maternity care providers' reporting practices and the quality of their communication with patients contribute to the SB-END misclassification in Ethiopia. There is need to increase providers' awareness of the importance of capturing and reporting reliable and valid information on pregnancy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-148
Number of pages11
JournalMinerva ginecologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020


  • Ethiopia
  • Perinatal death
  • Stillbirth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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