In sub-Saharan Africa, midwifery input into the generation of important research questions is limited. The authors aimed to address this issue by enabling midwives to set their own research priorities with the intention of developing a research strategy to conduct studies relevant to clinical practice.
A survey was carried out in six countries (Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania). The Delphi method was used with six panels of midwives (n=118) to attain a convergence of opinion on midwifery research priorities. Consensus-building was achieved by using a series of questionnaires delivered using multiple iterations to collect data. Data were analysed using ranked means and proportions.
Consensus was reached on 11 research questions which were considered regional priorities. These covered three key areas: midwifery training, clinical care and organisational issues. Conclusions: Midwives prioritised areas of research that had direct applicability to their own practice. All questions were at the applied end of the research spectrum. Priorities tended to cover broad areas within reproductive health, as opposed to being disease-focused. This is likely to reflect the desire to provide quality care that embraces the social aspects of health. Some of these research priorities are being taken forward by midwives in the group.
Keywords: Delphi method, Midwives, Research, sub-Sahara