Continuing education for midwives is an important investment area to improve the quality of sexual and reproductive health services. Interventions must take into account and provide solutions for the systemic barriers and gender inequities faced by midwives. Our objective was to generate concepts and a theoretical framework of the range of factors and gender transformative considerations for the development of continuing education interventions for midwives.
A critical interpretive synthesis complemented by key informant interviews, focus groups, observations and document review was applied. Three electronic bibliographic databases (CINAHL, EMBASE and MEDLINE) were searched from July 2019 to September 2020 and were again updated in June 2021. A coding structure was created to guide the synthesis across the five sources of evidence.
A total of 4519 records were retrieved through electronic searches and 103 documents were included in the critical interpretive synthesis. Additional evidence totalled 31 key informant interviews, 5 focus groups (Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania), 24 programme documents and field observations in the form of notes. The resulting theoretical framework outlines the key considerations including gender, the role of the midwifery association, political and health systems and external forces along with key enabling elements for the design, implementation and evaluation of gender transformative continuing education interventions.
Investments in gender transformative continuing education for midwives, led by midwifery associations, can lead to the improvement of midwifery across all United Nations’ target areas including governance, health workforce, health system arrangements and education.