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Needs assessment for Skilled Birth Attendants (SBAs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV countries)

At the global level, previous successes in reducing maternal mortality that occurred during the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) era have stagnated in the first five years of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) era, from 2016 to 2020. Enormous disparities remain within countries: impoverished and rural women are far less likely than their urban counterparts to receive skilled care during childbirth. Skilled attendance at birth is considered to be the single most critical intervention for ensuring safe motherhood.

The project aims to assess the needs of CLMV countries for further education and training to increase the number and coverage of accredited SBAs, especially in rural and remote areas. Specifically, to examine the existing education and training methods of accredited SBAs and if there are common needs between CLMV countries.


There are four key areas which will be assessed:

  • Availability – the sufficient supply and appropriate stock of health workers, with competencies and skill mixes that correspond to the health needs of the population;
  • Accessibility – the equitable distribution of health workers in terms of travel time and transport (spatial), opening hours and corresponding workforce attendance (temporal), the infrastructure’s attributes (physical – such as disabled-friendly buildings), referral mechanisms (organisational) and the direct and indirect cost of services, both formal and informal (financial);
  • Acceptability – the characteristics and ability of the workforce to treat all patients with dignity, create trust and enable or promote demand for services; this may take different forms such as a same-sex provider or a provider who understands and speaks one’s language and whose behaviour is respectful according to age, gender, religion, social and cultural values etc.;
  • Quality – the competencies, skills, knowledge and behaviour of the health worker as assessed according to professional norms (or other guiding standards) and as perceived by woman and families.

The project will consist of a desk review, interviews and surveys, field visits to all countries where possible, workshop and project completion report with recommendations.

The outcomes of this project will assist the CLMV countries to identify gaps in their SBA training and accreditation programmes and gaps in coverage of SBAs in rural and remote areas. Recommendations for best practice on training and for improving coverage will be given. 

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Kara Blackburn

Contact Kara Blackburn for more information about this project.



  • Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

Partners +

  • Ludwigshafen University, Germany, Professor Michaela Michel-Schuldt
  • Department of Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Lao PDR, Dr Youthanavan Vonghachack