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Table 3 World Health Organization Standards of Obstetric and Newborn Care and corresponding obstetric care navigator roles

From: Improving the experience of facility-based delivery for vulnerable women through obstetric care navigation: a qualitative evaluation


Description of WHO Standard

Example quotation about OCN

OCN Role

Standard 2

The health information system enables use of data to ensure early, appropriate action to improve the care of every woman and newborn

The OCNs tell me, ‘Doctor, she is pregnant based on this last menstrual period, she has not received an ultrasound, she already saw the nutritionist’” (HCW 14)


Standard 3

Every woman and newborn with condition(s) that cannot be dealt with effectively with the available resources is appropriately referred

The [OCN] accompanies the women referred from rural villages, they support them to get to the hospital which to them is an unknown place.” (HCW 23)


Standard 4

Communication with women and their families is effective and responds to their needs and preferences

“It is hard, when I hear what the hospital staff are saying I don’t understand. In comparison, the OCN can explain well exactly what it is that they want me to understand.” (Patient 11)


Standard 5

Women and newborns received care with respect and preservation of their dignity

Last delivery there was a doctor who scolded me for having too many children. .. Because the OCN was with me they do not dare to scold me, they have to provide better care.” (Patient 1)



Standard 6

Every woman and her family are provided with emotional support that is sensitive to their needs and strengthens the woman’s capability

“[The OCN] is such a help. It is like having a doctor, a midwife, and a friend close by. It’s like a home birth with my mother there. I think she is a big help.” (Patient 4)


Standard 7

For every woman and newborn, competent, motivated staff are consistently available to provide routine care and manage complications

The OCNs are very attentive to their patients’ needs. They will help them walk to the bathroom, because many times nursing has too few staff to help patients.” (HCW 22)



Standard 8

The health facility has an appropriate physical environment, with adequate water, sanitation and energy supplies, medicine, supplies and equipment for routine maternal and newborn care and management of complications

The OCNs have done a lot to facilitate patient care. They will bring samples to the outside laboratory and whatever we need we can depend on them.” (HCW 13)