Listen to the Midwives in Limpopo Province South Africa: An Exploratory Study on Maternal Care

T.M Mothiba1, *, L. Skaal2, V. Berggren3
1 Faculty of Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, Limpopo Province, South Africa
2 Department of Public Health, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, Limpopo Province, South Africa
3 Karolinska Institute, Department of Neurobiology, Caring Sciences and Society, Stockholm, Sweden

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Creative Commons License
© 2019 Mothiba et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Faculty of Sciences, University of Limpopo, polokwane, Private Bag X1106, SOVENGA 0727, Limpopo Province, South Africa; E-mail:


Background and Aim:

South Africa is a middle-income country that did not reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 5 by 2015, because maternal mortality ratio increased between 1990 and 2015. Limpopo is a rural province, and its institutional maternal mortality ratio is higher than the national average. Studies reported that there is a shortage of midwives and medical equipment in the province. This study is part of a broader research program focusing on strengthening health systems for maternal care in Limpopo province, and it was aimed at exploring the experiences of Midwives prior to debriefing and training sessions conducted.


Qualitative research was used whereby five focus group interviews were conducted with midwives from five districts to share experiences during the provision of maternal healthcare and to propose solutions thereof. Tesch’s open coding qualitative data analysis was used.


The findings revealed that there is a lack of resources, feelings of isolation, problems related to logistical issues, staffing issues, demographic characteristics of the population, interinstitutional communication, and lack of administrative support.


Hospital managers must revise how they allocate resources, improve inter-institutional cooperation, and change of management attitude. This study concludes that the midwives identified numerous challenges that originate from a lack of resources. Revision for resource allocation is hoped that it will solve logistical problems, increased inter-institutional cooperation in terms of capacity building and patient assessment suggested with the hope to minimize the challenges of communication and staffing.

Keywords: Experiences, Maternal care, Midwives, Ante-natal care, Maternal mortality ratio, Lack of resources.