Globally, Nigeria is one of the countries experiencing worst maternal mortality crisis. Despite its recognition as a major public health issue, the maternal mortality statistic is still on the increase and is not commensurate with the effort of the stakeholders. In developing countries, the use of the partograph for labor management is very low among nurses, midwives and doctors working in most of the primary and secondary levels of care compared to the tertiary level of care. A total population study of all practicing and consenting 306 obstetric care providers across selected 74 functional government healthcare facilities in the study area was conducted using a concurrent mixed-method study design over a period of six months. Validated semi-structured questionnaire and key informant interview guide were used for data collection. Data were analyzed using the SPSS version 22.0 and Nvivo version 9.0. Descriptive and inferential statistics were applied as appropriate at 95% confidence level and a p-value of ≤ 0.05. Females were 87.9% of the participants and the mean age was 36.91±9.06 years. The partograph was more utilized among nurse/midwives (51.4%), respondents working in tertiary healthcare facilities (100%), respondents with positive perception about its use (61.0%) and when readily available (62.8%).This study showed that obstetric care providers have positive perception and good general knowledge of the partograph, but lacked in-depth knowledge of it including confidence in its use. This study also showed that nurses/midwives utilizes this life-saving and inexpensive obstetric tool (partograph) more, and that it is mostly use at tertiary level of care but optimally utilized at the primary level of care where it is most needed.
Key words: Care providers, levels of care, obstetrics, partograph, utilization.
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