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1.  Factors affecting the use of maternal health services in Madhya Pradesh state of India: a multilevel analysis 
Improving maternal health is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals. It is widely accepted that the use of maternal health services helps in reducing maternal morbidity and mortality. The utilization of maternal health services is a complex phenomenon and it is influenced by several factors. Therefore, the factors at different levels affecting the use of these services need to be clearly understood. The objective of this study was to estimate the effects of individual, community and district level characteristics on the utilisation of maternal health services with special reference to antenatal care (ANC), skilled attendance at delivery and postnatal care (PNC).
This study was designed as a cross sectional study. Data from 15,782 ever married women aged 15-49 years residing in Madhya Pradesh state of India who participated in the District Level Household and Facility Survey (DLHS-3) 2007-08 were used for this study. Multilevel logistic regression analysis was performed accounting for individual, community and district level factors associated with the use of maternal health care services. Type of residence at community level and ratio of primary health center to population and percent of tribal population in the district were included as district level variables in this study.
The results of this study showed that 61.7% of the respondents used ANC at least once during their most recent pregnancy whereas only 37.4% women received PNC within two weeks of delivery. In the last delivery, 49.8% mothers were assisted by skilled personnel. There was considerable amount of variation in the use of maternal health services at community and district levels. About 40% and 14% of the total variance in the use of ANC, 29% and 8% of the total variance in the use of skilled attendance at delivery and 28% and 8.5% of the total variance in the use of PNC was attributable to differences across communities and districts, respectively. When controlled for individual, community and district level factors, the variances in the use of skilled attendance at delivery attributed to the differences across communities and districts were reduced to 15% and 4.3% respectively. There were only marginal reductions observed in the variance at community and district level for ANC and PNC use. The household socio-economic status and mother's education were the most important factors associated with the use of ANC and skilled attendance at delivery. The community level variable was only significant for ANC and skilled attendance at delivery but not for PNC. None of the district level variables used in this study were found to be influential factors for the use of maternal health services.
We found sufficient amount of variations at community and district of residence on each of the three indicators of the use of maternal health services. For increasing the utilisation of these services in the state, in addition to individual-level, there is a strong need to identify and focus on community and district-level interventions.
PMCID: PMC3283453  PMID: 22142036
Maternal health; antenatal care; skilled attendance at delivery; post natal care; multilevel analysis
2.  Do Malawian women critically assess the quality of care? A qualitative study on women’s perceptions of perinatal care at a district hospital in Malawi 
Reproductive Health  2012;9:30.
Malawi has a high perinatal mortality rate of 40 deaths per 1,000 births. To promote neonatal health, the Government of Malawi has identified essential health care packages for improving maternal and neonatal health in health care facilities. However, regardless of the availability of health services, women’s perceptions of the care is important as it influences whether the women will or will not use the services. In Malawi 95% of pregnant women receive antenatal care from skilled attendants, but the number is reduced to 71% deliveries being conducted by skilled attendants. The objective of this study was to describe women’s perceptions on perinatal care among the women delivered at a district hospital.
A descriptive study design with qualitative data collection and analysis methods. Data were collected through face-to-face in-depth interviews using semi-structured interview guides collecting information on women’s perceptions on perinatal care. A total of 14 in depth interviews were conducted with women delivering at Chiradzulu District Hospital from February to March 2011. The women were asked how they perceived the care they received from health workers during antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum. They were also asked about the information they received during provision of care. Data were manually analyzed using thematic analysis.
Two themes from the study were good care and unsatisfactory care. Subthemes under good care were: respect, confidentiality, privacy and normal delivery. Providers’ attitude, delay in providing care, inadequate care, and unavailability of delivery attendants were subthemes under unsatisfactory care.
Although the results show that women wanted to be well received at health facilities, respected, treated with kindness, dignity and not shouted at, they were not critical of the care they received. The women did not know the quality of care to expect because they were not well informed. The women were not critical of the care they received because they were not aware of the standard of care. Instead they had low expectations. Health workers have a responsibility to inform women and their families about the care that women should expect. There is also a need for standardization of the antenatal information that is provided.
PMCID: PMC3546032  PMID: 23158672
Antenatal information; Perinatal care information; Perinatal period; Quality of care; Skilled birth attendant
3.  Effect of an innovative community based health program on maternal health service utilization in north and south central Ethiopia: a community based cross sectional study 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:28.
Among Millennium Development Goals, achieving the fifth goal (MDG-5) of reducing maternal mortality poses the greatest challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world with unacceptably low maternal health service utilization. The Government of Ethiopia introduced an innovative community-based intervention as a national strategy under the Health Sector Development Program. This new approach, known as the Health Extension Program, aims to improve access to and equity in essential health services through community based Health Extension Workers.
The objective of the study is to assess the role of Health Extension Workers in improving women’s utilization of antenatal care, delivery at health facility and postnatal care services.
A cross sectional household survey was conducted in early 2012 in two districts of northern and south central parts of Ethiopia. Data were collected from 4949 women who had delivered in the two years preceding the survey. Logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the association between visit by Health Extension Workers during pregnancy and use of maternal health services, controlling for the effect of other confounding factors.
The non–adjusted analysis showed that antenatal care attendance at least four times during pregnancy was significantly associated with visit by Health Extension Workers [Odds Ratio 3.46(95% CI 3.07,3.91)], whereas health facility delivery (skilled attendance at birth) was not significantly associated with visit by Health Extension Workers during pregnancy [Odds Ratio 0.87(95% CI 0.25,2.96)]. When adjusted for other factors the association of HEWs visit during pregnancy was weaker for antenatal care attendance [Adjusted Odds Ratio: 1.35(95% CI: 1.05, 1.72)] but positively and significantly associated with health facility delivery [Adjusted Odds Ratio 1.96(1.25,3.06)].
In general HEWs visit during pregnancy improved utilization of maternal health services. Health facility delivery is heavily affected by other factors. Meaningful improvement in skilled attendance at birth (health facility delivery) should include addressing other factors on top of visits by HEWs during pregnancy and specific target oriented interventions during visits by HEWs to support skilled attendance at birth.
PMCID: PMC4041359  PMID: 24708848
Skilled attendance at birth; Community based health programs; Health facility delivery; Antenatal care; Health Extension Worker; Ethiopia
4.  Use of antenatal care, maternity services, intermittent presumptive treatment and insecticide treated bed nets by pregnant women in Luwero district, Uganda 
Malaria Journal  2008;7:44.
To reduce the intolerable burden of malaria in pregnancy, the Ministry of Health in Uganda improved the antenatal care package by including a strong commitment to increase distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and introduction of intermittent preventive treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine for pregnant women (IPTp-SP) as a national policy in 2000. This study assessed uptake of both ITNs and IPTp-SP by pregnant women as well as antenatal and maternity care use with the aim of optimizing their delivery.
769 post-partum women were recruited from a rural area of central Uganda with perennial malaria transmission through a cross-sectional, community-based household survey in May 2005.
Of the 769 women interviewed, antenatal clinic (ANC) attendance was high (94.4%); 417 (57.7%) visiting initially during the 2nd trimester, 242 (33.5%) during the 3rd trimester and 266 (37.1%) reporting ≥ 4 ANC visits. About 537 (71%) and 272 (35.8%) received one or ≥ 2 IPTp-SP doses respectively. Only 85 (15.8%) received the first dose of IPTp-SP in the 3rd trimester. ITNs were used by 239 (31.3%) of women during pregnancy and 314 (40.8%) delivered their most recent pregnancy outside a health facility. Post-partum women who lacked post-primary education were more likely not to have attended four or more ANC visits (odds ratio [OR] 3.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–9.3).
These findings illustrate the need to strengthen capacity of the district to further improve antenatal care and maternity services utilization and IPTp-SP uptake. More specific and effective community health strategies to improve effective ANC, maternity services utilization and IPTp-SP uptake in rural communities should be undertaken.
PMCID: PMC2292202  PMID: 18312682
5.  Association of antenatal care with facility delivery and perinatal survival – a population-based study in Bangladesh 
Antenatal Care (ANC) during pregnancy can play an important role in the uptake of evidence-based services vital to the health of women and their infants. Studies report positive effects of ANC on use of facility-based delivery and perinatal mortality. However, most existing studies are limited to cross-sectional surveys with long recall periods, and generally do not include population-based samples.
This study was conducted within the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) in Matlab, Bangladesh. The HDSS area is divided into an icddr,b service area (SA) where women and children receive care from icddr,b health facilities, and a government SA where people receive care from government facilities. In 2007, a new Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MNCH) program was initiated in the icddr,b SA that strengthened the ongoing maternal and child health services including ANC. We estimated the association of ANC with facility delivery and perinatal mortality using prospectively collected data from 2005 to 2009. Using a before-after study design, we also determined the role of ANC services on reduction of perinatal mortality between the periods before (2005 – 2006) and after (2008–2009) implementation of the MNCH program.
Antenatal care visits were associated with increased facility-based delivery in the icddr,b and government SAs. In the icddr,b SA, the adjusted odds of perinatal mortality was about 2-times higher (odds ratio (OR) 1.91; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.50, 2.42) among women who received ≤1 ANC compared to women who received ≥3 ANC visits. No such association was observed in the government SA. Controlling for ANC visits substantially reduced the observed effect of the intervention on perinatal mortality (OR 0.64; 95% CI: 0.52, 0.78) to non-significance (OR 0.81; 95% CI: 0.65, 1.01), when comparing cohorts before and after the MNCH program initiation (Sobel test of mediation P < 0.001).
ANC visits are associated with increased uptake of facility-based delivery and improved perinatal survival in the icddr,b SA. Further testing of the icddr,b approach to simultaneously improving quality of ANC and facility delivery care is needed in the existing health system in Bangladesh and in other low-income countries to maximize health benefits to mothers and newborns.
PMCID: PMC3495045  PMID: 23066832
6.  Predictors for health facility delivery in Busia district of Uganda: a cross sectional study 
Among the factors contributing to the high maternal morbidity and mortality in Uganda is the high proportion of pregnant women who do not deliver under supervision in health facilities. This study aimed to identify the independent predictors of health facility delivery in Busia a rural district in Uganda with a view of suggesting measures for remedial action.
In a cross sectional survey, 500 women who had a delivery in the past two years (from November 16 2005 to November 15 2007) were interviewed regarding place of delivery, demographic characteristics, reproductive history, attendance for antenatal care, accessibility of health services, preferred delivery positions, preference for disposal of placenta and mother’s autonomy in decision making. In addition the household socio economic status was assessed. The independent predictors of health facility delivery were identified by comparing women who delivered in health facilities to those who did not, using bivariate and binary logistic regression analysis.
Eight independent predictors that favoured delivery in a health facility include: being of high socio-economic status (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.8 95% Confidence interval [95% CI]1.2–6.3), previous difficult delivery (AOR 4.2, 95% CI 3.0–8.0), parity less than four (AOR 2.9, 95% CI 1.6–5.6), preference of supine position for second stage of labour (AOR 5.9, 95% CI 3.5–11.1) preferring health workers to dispose the placenta (AOR 12.1, 95% CI 4.3–34.1), not having difficulty with transport (AOR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2–3.5), being autonomous in decision to attend antenatal care (AOR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1–3.4) and depending on other people (e.g. spouse) in making a decision of where to deliver from (AOR 2.4, 95% CI 1.4–4.6). A model with these 8 variables had an overall correct classification of 81.4% (chi square = 230.3, P < 0.001).
These data suggest that in order to increase health facility deliveries there is need for reaching women of low social economic status and of higher parity with suitable interventions aimed at reducing barriers that make women less likely to deliver in health units such as ensuring availability of transport and involving spouses in the birth plan.
PMCID: PMC3514288  PMID: 23167791
Home deliveries; Male involvement; Birth plan; Sub-Saharan Africa
7.  Low Use of Skilled Attendants' Delivery Services in Rural Kenya 
The aim of the study was to estimate the use of skilled attendants’ delivery services among users of antenatal care and the coverage of skilled attendants’ delivery services in the general population in Kikoneni location, Kenya. Data collected from the registers at the Kikoneni Health Centre (KHC) from March 2001 through March 2003 were retrospectively reviewed. Antenatal care attendance, deliveries by skilled attendants, and the percentage of antenatal care attendees who delivered in a healthcare facility were assessed. Deliveries at the KHC were compared with expected births in the population to estimate the coverage of deliveries assisted by skilled attendants in the community. Of 994 women who attended the antenatal care clinic, 74 (7.4%) presented for delivery services. 5.4% of expected births in the population occurred in health facilities. The coverage of deliveries assisted by skilled attendants was far below the national and international goals. The use of institutional delivery services was very low even among antenatal care attendees. Targeted programmatic efforts are necessary to increase skilled attendant-assisted births, with the ultimate goal of reducing maternal mortality.
PMCID: PMC3001150  PMID: 17591343
Delivery; Obstetric care; Skilled birth attendants; Health facilities; Births; Maternity; Kenya
8.  Effectiveness of an integrated approach to reduce perinatal mortality: recent experiences from Matlab, Bangladesh 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:914.
Improving perinatal health is the key to achieving the Millennium Development Goal for child survival. Recently, several reviews suggest that scaling up available effective perinatal interventions in an integrated approach can substantially reduce the stillbirth and neonatal death rates worldwide. We evaluated the effect of packaged interventions given in pregnancy, delivery and post-partum periods through integration of community- and facility-based services on perinatal mortality.
This study took advantage of an ongoing health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) and a new Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Project initiated in 2007 in Matlab, Bangladesh in half (intervention area) of the HDSS area. In the other half, women received usual care through the government health system (comparison area). The MNCH Project strengthened ongoing maternal and child health services as well as added new services. The intervention followed a continuum of care model for pregnancy, intrapartum, and post-natal periods by improving established links between community- and facility-based services. With a separate pre-post samples design, we compared the perinatal mortality rates between two periods--before (2005-2006) and after (2008-2009) implementation of MNCH interventions. We also evaluated the difference-of-differences in perinatal mortality between intervention and comparison areas.
Antenatal coverage, facility delivery and cesarean section rates were significantly higher in the post- intervention period in comparison with the period before intervention. In the intervention area, the odds of perinatal mortality decreased by 36% between the pre-intervention and post-intervention periods (odds ratio: 0.64; 95% confidence intervals: 0.52-0.78). The reduction in the intervention area was also significant relative to the reduction in the comparison area (OR 0.73, 95% CI: 0.56-0.95; P = 0.018).
The continuum of care approach provided through the integration of service delivery modes decreased the perinatal mortality rate within a short period of time. Further testing of this model is warranted within the government health system in Bangladesh and other low-income countries.
PMCID: PMC3257323  PMID: 22151276
9.  Three cases of neonatal tetanus in Papua New Guinea lead to development of national action plan for maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination 
Maternal or neonatal tetanus causes deaths primarily in Asia and Africa and is usually the result of poor hygiene during delivery. In 2011, three neonatal tetanus cases were investigated in Papua New Guinea, and all three cases were delivered at home by untrained assistants. The babies were normal at birth but subsequently developed spasms. A neonatal tetanus case must be viewed as a sentinel event indicating a failure of public health services including immunization, antenatal care and delivery care. The confirmation of these cases led to the drafting of the Papua New Guinea National Action Plan for Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus Elimination. This included three rounds of a tetanus toxoid supplementary immunization campaign targeting women of childbearing age (WBCA) and strengthening of other clean delivery practices. The first immunization round was conducted in April and May 2012, targeting 1.6 million WBCA and achieved coverage of 77%. The government of Papua New Guinea should ensure detailed investigation of all neonatal tetanus cases reported in the health information system and perform subprovincial analysis of tetanus toxoid coverage following completion of all three immunization rounds. Efforts also should be made to strengthen clean delivery practices to help eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in Papua New Guinea.
PMCID: PMC3762966  PMID: 24015370
10.  Pregnant women’s experiences of routine counselling and testing for HIV in Eastern Uganda: a qualitative study 
Routine HIV counselling and testing as part of antenatal care has been institutionalized in Uganda as an entry point for pregnant women into the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme. Understanding how women experience this mode of HIV testing is important to generate ideas on how to strengthen the PMTCT programme. We explored pregnant HIV positive and negative women’s experiences of routine counselling and testing in Mbale District, Eastern Uganda and formulated suggestions for improving service delivery.
This was a qualitative study conducted at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital in Eastern Uganda between January and May 2010. Data were collected using in-depth interviews with 30 pregnant women (15 HIV positive and 15 HIV negative) attending an antenatal clinic, six key informant interviews with health workers providing antenatal care and observations. Data were analyzed using a content thematic approach.
Prior to attending their current ANC visit, most women knew that the hospital provided HIV counselling and testing services as part of antenatal care (ANC). HIV testing was perceived as compulsory for all women attending ANC at the hospital but beneficial, for mothers, especially those who test HIV positive and their unborn babies. Most HIV positive women were satisfied with the immediate counselling they received from health workers, but identified the need to provide follow up counselling and support after the test, as areas for improvement. However, most HIV negative women mentioned that they were given inadequate attention during post-test counselling. This left them with unanswered questions and, for some, doubts about the negative test results.
In this setting, routine HIV counselling and testing services are known and acceptable to mothers. There is need to strengthen post-test and follow up counselling for both HIV positive and negative women in order to maximize opportunities for primary and post exposure HIV prevention. Partnerships and linkages with people living with HIV, especially those in existing support groups such as those at The AIDS Support Organization (TASO), may help to strengthen counselling and support for pregnant women. For effective HIV prevention, women who test HIV negative should be supported to remain negative.
PMCID: PMC3665685  PMID: 23705793
11.  Availability and components of maternity services according to providers and users perspectives in North Gondar, northwest Ethiopia 
Reproductive Health  2013;10:43.
The goal of reducing maternal mortality can be achieved when women receive important service components at the time of their maternity care. This study attempted to assess the availability and the components of maternity services according to the perspectives of service users and providers.
A linked facility and population-based survey was conducted over three months (January to March 2012) in North Gondar Zone. Twelve kebeles (clusters) were selected randomly from six districts to identify maternity clients cared for by skilled providers. Then 12 health centers and 3 hospitals utilized by the corresponding cluster population were selected for facility survey. Interview with facility managers/heads, providers and clients and observations were used for data collection. Data were entered using Epi Info and were exported to SPSS software for analysis.
Antenatal and delivery care were available in most of the visited facilities. However, the majority of them were not fully functioning for EmOC according to their level. Signal functions including administration of anticonvulsants and assisted vaginal delivery were missing in seven and five of the 12 health centers, respectively. Only one hospital met the criteria for comprehensive emergency obstetric care (performed cesarean section). Only 24% of the providers used partograph consistently. About 538 (32.3%) and 231 (13.8%) of the women received antenatal and delivery care from skilled providers, respectively. Most of the services were at health centers by nurses/midwives. At the time of the antenatal care, women received the important components of the services (percentage of users in bracket) like blood pressure checkup (79%), urine testing (35%), tetanus immunization (45%), iron supplementation (64%), birth preparedness counseling (51%) and HIV testing (71%). During delivery, 80% had their blood pressure measured, 78% were informed on labor progress, 89% had auscultation of fetal heartbeat, 80% took drugs to prevent bleeding and 78% had counseling on early & exclusive breast-feeding.
Antenatal and delivery care were available in most of the visited facilities. However, important components of both the routine and emergency maternity care services were incomplete. Improving the functional capacity of health facilities for the delivery of routine maternity and EmOC services are needed.
PMCID: PMC3765091  PMID: 23968306
Availability of maternal service; Components of maternity care
12.  Factors Influencing Antenatal Care Service Utilization in Hadiya Zone 
In Ethiopia, the levels of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality are among the highest in the world. This is attributed to, among other factors, none use of modern health care services by women in Ethiopia. According to the 2005 Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey, more than seven in ten mothers did not receive antenatal care at all. Therefore, the objective of this study was to explore factors influencing antenatal care services utilization in Southern Ethiopia.
A community-based cross sectional study was conducted in Hadiya Zone of Southern Ethiopia from January to February 2009. A multi stage sampling technique was used to select the study population in one urban and five rural kebeles. Analysis was done using SPSS for windows version 16.
This study revealed that antenatal care service utilization in the study area was 86.3%. However, from those who attended antenatal care service 406 (68.2%) started antenatal care visit during the second trimester of pregnancy and significant proportion 250 (42%) had less than four visits. Maternal age, husband attitude, family size, maternal education, and perceived morbidity were major predictors of antenatal care service utilization.
Though the antenatal care service utilization is high in the study population, four in ten of the mothers did not have the minimum number of visits recommended by World Health Organization. Promoting information, education and communication in the community is recommended to favorably affect the major predictors of antenatal care service utilization.
PMCID: PMC3275839  PMID: 22434964
Antenatal Care; Service Utilization; Southern Ethiopia
13.  Unintended pregnancies and the use of maternal health services in southwestern Ethiopia 
The benefits of maternal health care to maternal and neonatal health outcomes have been well documented. Antenatal care attendance, institutional delivery and skilled attendance at delivery all help to improve maternal and neonatal health. However, use of maternal health services is still very low in developing countries with high maternal mortality including Ethiopia. This study examines the association of unintended Pregnancy with the use of maternal health services in Southwestern Ethiopia.
Data for this study come from a survey conducted among 1370 women with a recent birth in a Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS) in southwestern Ethiopia. An interviewer administered questionnaire was used to gather data on maternal health care, pregnancy intention and other explanatory variables. Data were analyzed using STATA 11, and both bivariate and multivariate analyses were done. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association of pregnancy intention with the use of antenatal and delivery care services. Unadjusted and adjusted odds ratio and their 95% confidence intervals are reported.
More than one third (35%) of women reported that their most recent pregnancy was unintended. With regards to maternal health care, only 42% of women made at least one antenatal care visit during pregnancy, while 17% had four or more visits. Institutional delivery was only 12%. Unintended pregnancy was significantly (OR: 0.75, 95% CI, 0.58-0.97) associated with use of antenatal care services and receiving adequate antenatal care (OR: 0.67, 95% CI, 0.46-0.96), even after adjusting for other socio-demographic factors. However, for delivery care, the association with pregnancy intention was attenuated after adjustment. Other factors associated with antenatal care and delivery care include women’s education, urban residence, wealth and distance from health facility.
Women with unintended pregnancies were less likely to access or receive adequate antenatal care. Interventions are needed to reduce unintended pregnancy such as improving access to family planning information and services. Moreover, improving access to maternal health services and understanding women’s pregnancy intention at the time of first antenatal care visit is important to encourage women with unintended pregnancies to complete antenatal care.
PMCID: PMC3844536  PMID: 24011335
Unintended pregnancy; Antenatal care; Delivery care; Southwestern Ethiopia
14.  Interest of pregnant women in the use of SMS (short message service) text messages for the improvement of perinatal and postnatal care 
Mobile health (mHealth) is emerging as a useful tool to improve healthcare access especially in the developing world, where limited access to health services is linked to poor antenatal care, and maternal and perinatal mortality.
The objective of this study is to 1) understand pregnant women’s access and usage of cell phones and 2) survey the health information needs and interests in a population attending public hospitals and health centers of two cities in Argentina. This information is not available and it is the basis to develop a strategy for improving maternal care via cell phones.
Questionnaires were verbally administered to pregnant women who were attending an antenatal care visit in community health centers and public hospitals in Rosario, Santa Fe and Mercedes, Corrientes. Participants were 18 years of age or older and had previously given birth. The data obtained was qualitative and analyzed using SPSS version 18.
A total of 147 pregnant women meeting inclusion criteria (Rosario: 63; Mercedes: 84) were approached and verbally consented to participate. The average age was 29.5 years, most lived in urban areas (89%) with a mean travel time of 43.4 minutes required to get to the health center and 57.3 minutes to get the hospital.
Ninety-six percent of women (n = 140) responded that they would like to receive text messages and cell phone calls with information regarding prenatal care, although the topics and period of time to receive information varied greatly.
Considering the vast majority of the interviewed women had access to and were interested in receiving text messages and calls with educational information regarding pregnancy and infant health, pregnant women in Argentina could benefit from such an mHealth program. The low access to Internet suggests it is not an option for this population; however, this cannot be assumed as representative of the country’s situation.
To retain active participation, other forms of health communication, such as a 2-way text message systems or toll-free numbers, could be considered in the future. Cost of use and implementing these options should be studied.
PMCID: PMC3453517  PMID: 22866753
mHealth; Mobile health; SMS text messages; Perinatal; Prenatal; Healthcare; Argentina
15.  Why don't some women attend antenatal and postnatal care services?: a qualitative study of community members' perspectives in Garut, Sukabumi and Ciamis districts of West Java Province, Indonesia 
Antenatal, delivery and postnatal care services are amongst the recommended interventions aimed at preventing maternal and newborn deaths worldwide. West Java is one of the provinces of Java Island in Indonesia with a high proportion of home deliveries, a low attendance of four antenatal services and a low postnatal care uptake. This paper aims to explore community members' perspectives on antenatal and postnatal care services, including reasons for using or not using these services, the services received during antenatal and postnatal care, and cultural practices during antenatal and postnatal periods in Garut, Sukabumi and Ciamis districts of West Java province.
A qualitative study was conducted from March to July 2009 in six villages in three districts of West Java province. Twenty focus group discussions (FGDs) and 165 in-depth interviews were carried out involving a total of 295 respondents. The guidelines for FGDs and in-depth interviews included the topics of community experiences with antenatal and postnatal care services, reasons for not attending the services, and cultural practices during antenatal and postnatal periods.
Our study found that the main reason women attended antenatal and postnatal care services was to ensure the safe health of both mother and infant. Financial difficulty emerged as the major issue among women who did not fulfil the minimum requirements of four antenatal care services or two postnatal care services within the first month after delivery. This was related to the cost of health services, transportation costs, or both. In remote areas, the limited availability of health services was also a problem, especially if the village midwife frequently travelled out of the village. The distances from health facilities, in addition to poor road conditions were major concerns, particularly for those living in remote areas. Lack of community awareness about the importance of these services was also found, as some community members perceived health services to be necessary only if obstetric complications occurred. The services of traditional birth attendants for antenatal, delivery, and postnatal care were widely used, and their roles in maternal and child care were considered vital by some community members.
It is important that public health strategies take into account the availability, affordability and accessibility of health services. Poverty alleviation strategies will help financially deprived communities to use antenatal and postnatal health services. This study also demonstrated the importance of health promotion programs for increasing community awareness about the necessity of antenatal and postnatal services.
PMCID: PMC2964562  PMID: 20937146
16.  Maternal recall of birthweight and birth size in Entebbe, Uganda 
To assess the reliability of maternally recalled birthweight and size in Entebbe, Uganda.
The study population comprised 404 mothers, who were participants in the Entebbe Mother and Baby Study (EMaBS). Mothers were recruited to EMaBS during antenatal care, maternal characteristics were recorded during pregnancy, and birthweight was recorded at delivery. Four to seven years after delivery, mothers were asked to recall the child’s birthweight and size. Their responses were compared with the birthweight recorded in the EMaBS database.
Of 404 interviewed mothers, 303 (75%) were able to give an estimate of birthweight and for 265 of these EMaBS data on recorded birthweights were available. Women who were educated and whose children had low birth order were more likely to be able to give an estimate: 37 (14%) recalled the exact recorded birthweight; a further 52 (20%) were accurate to within 0.1 kg of the recorded weight. On average, mothers overestimated birthweight by 0.06 kg (95% CI: 0.00–0.13 kg, P = 0.04). Recalled and recorded birthweights showed moderate agreement with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.64. Four hundered mothers gave an estimate of birth size: the sensitivity and specificity of recalled birth size for classifying low birthweight were 76% (95% CI: 50–93%) and 70% (95% CI: 65–75%), respectively.
Mothers’ recall of birthweight was not precise but in absence of other data, recall of birthweight and size may have some value in epidemiological studies in these settings.
PMCID: PMC3627817  PMID: 22994260
birthweight; reliability; validity; uganda
17.  A decade of inequality in maternity care: antenatal care, professional attendance at delivery, and caesarean section in Bangladesh (1991–2004) 
Bangladesh is committed to the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG-5) target of reducing its maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015. Since the early 1990s, Bangladesh has followed a strategy of improving access to facilities equipped and staffed to provide emergency obstetric care (EmOC).
We used data from four Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 1993 and 2004 to examine trends in the proportions of live births preceded by antenatal consultation, attended by a health professional, and delivered by caesarean section, according to key socio-demographic characteristics.
Utilization of antenatal care increased substantially, from 24% in 1991 to 60% in 2004. Despite a relatively greater increase in rural than urban areas, utilization remained much lower among the poorest rural women without formal education (18%) compared with the richest urban women with secondary or higher education (99%). Professional attendance at delivery increased by 50% (from 9% to 14%, more rapidly in rural than urban areas), and caesarean sections trebled (from 2% to 6%), but these indicators remained low even by developing country standards. Within these trends there were huge inequalities; 86% of live births among the richest urban women with secondary or higher education were attended by a health professional, and 35% were delivered by caesarean section, compared with 2% and 0.1% respectively of live births among the poorest rural women without formal education. The trend in professional attendance was entirely confounded by socioeconomic and demographic changes, but education of the woman and her husband remained important determinants of utilization of obstetric services.
Despite commendable progress in improving uptake of antenatal care, and in equipping health facilities to provide emergency obstetric care, the very low utilization of these facilities, especially by poor women, is a major impediment to meeting MDG-5 in Bangladesh.
PMCID: PMC2014749  PMID: 17760962
18.  Influences on uptake of reproductive health services in Nsangi community of Uganda and their implications for cervical cancer screening 
Cervical cancer is the most common female cancer in Uganda. Over 80% of women diagnosed or referred with cervical cancer in Mulago national referral and teaching hospital have advanced disease. Plans are underway for systematic screening programmes based on visual inspection, as Pap smear screening is not feasible for this low resource country. Effectiveness of population screening programmes requires high uptake and for cervical cancer, minimal loss to follow up. Uganda has poor indicators of reproductive health (RH) services uptake; 10% postnatal care attendance, 23% contraceptive prevalence, and 38% skilled attendance at delivery. For antenatal attendance, attendance to one visit is 90%, but less than 50% for completion of care, i.e. three or more visits.
We conducted a qualitative study using eight focus group discussions with a total of 82 participants (16 men, 46 women and 20 health workers). We aimed to better understand factors that influence usage of available reproductive health care services and how they would relate to cervical cancer screening, as well as identify feasible interventions to improve cervical cancer screening uptake.
Barriers identified after framework analysis included ignorance about cervical cancer, cultural constructs/beliefs about the illness, economic factors, domestic gender power relations, alternative authoritative sources of reproductive health knowledge, and unfriendly health care services. We discuss how these findings may inform future planned screening programmes in the Ugandan context.
Knowledge about cervical cancer among Ugandan women is very low. For an effective cervical cancer-screening programme, awareness about cervical cancer needs to be increased. Health planners need to note the power of the various authoritative sources of reproductive health knowledge such as paternal aunts (Sengas) and involve them in the awareness campaign. Cultural and economic issues dictate the perceived reluctance by men to participate in women's reproductive health issues; men in this community are, however, potential willing partners if appropriately informed. Health planners should address the loss of confidence in current health care units, as well as consider use of other cervical cancer screening delivery systems such as mobile clinics/camps.
PMCID: PMC1936416  PMID: 17594474
19.  Determinants of Utilization of Antenatal Care Services in Rural Lucknow, India 
Antenatal care services are the first steps towards ensuring the health of mothers and the newborn. This is the key component for achieving Millennium Development Goals by 2015. But India's performance continues to be poor in providing antenatal care services to its huge population, particularly in the rural areas.
To assess the determinants of utilization of antenatal services by rural beneficiaries in Lucknow, a district of north India.
Materials and Methods:
The study, cross-sectional in design, was conducted from August 2009 to July 2010. Multistage random sampling was used for selecting villages. A total of 352 recently delivered women were selected following systematic random sampling. Logistic regression was used to find out the determinants of three antenatal care services.
Overall, 85.5% of the beneficiaries surveyed were found to receive at least three antenatal care services from any health facility. Community health centre was the most common source for such care. Significant difference was found between beneficiaries who took three antenatal care visits and who did not in terms of age, socio economic status, and timing of registration. On multiple regression, only age (OR = 2.107, 95% CI = 1.132 – 3.923) and timing of registration (OR = 2.817, 95% CI = 1.487 – 5.338) were found to be the predictors for three antenatal care visits.
Intervention should be focused on young and late registered women for ensuring sufficient care during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC3894022  PMID: 24479045
Antenatal care; determinant; recently delivered women; rural India
20.  Use of antenatal services and delivery care among women in rural western Kenya: a community based survey 
Improving maternal health is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals. We assessed provision and use of antenatal services and delivery care among women in rural Kenya to determine whether women were receiving appropriate care.
Population-based cross-sectional survey among women who had recently delivered.
Of 635 participants, 90% visited the antenatal clinic (ANC) at least once during their last pregnancy (median number of visits 4). Most women (64%) first visited the ANC in the third trimester; a perceived lack of quality in the ANC was associated with a late first ANC visit (Odds ratio [OR] 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0–2.4). Women who did not visit an ANC were more likely to have < 8 years of education (adjusted OR [AOR] 3.0, 95% CI 1.5–6.0), and a low socio-economic status (SES) (AOR 2.8, 95% CI 1.5–5.3). The ANC provision of abdominal palpation, tetanus vaccination and weight measurement were high (>90%), but provision of other services was low, e.g. malaria prevention (21%), iron (53%) and folate (44%) supplementation, syphilis testing (19.4%) and health talks (14.4%). Eighty percent of women delivered outside a health facility; among these, traditional birth attendants assisted 42%, laypersons assisted 36%, while 22% received no assistance. Factors significantly associated with giving birth outside a health facility included: age ≥ 30 years, parity ≥ 5, low SES, < 8 years of education, and > 1 hour walking distance from the health facility. Women who delivered unassisted were more likely to be of parity ≥ 5 (AOR 5.7, 95% CI 2.8–11.6).
In this rural area, usage of the ANC was high, but this opportunity to deliver important health services was not fully utilized. Use of professional delivery services was low, and almost 1 out of 5 women delivered unassisted. There is an urgent need to improve this dangerous situation.
PMCID: PMC1459114  PMID: 16597344
21.  Comprehensive Approach to Improving Maternal Health and Achieving MDG 5: Report from the Mountains of Lesotho 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42700.
Although it is now widely recognized that reductions in maternal mortality and improvements in women's health cannot be achieved through simple, vertical strategies, few programs have provided successful models for how to integrate services into a comprehensive program for maternal health. We report our experience in rural Lesotho, where Partners In Health (PIH) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare implemented a program that provides comprehensive care of pregnant women from the community to the clinic level.
Between May and July 2009, PIH trained 100 women, many of whom were former traditional birth attendants, to serve as clinic-affiliated maternal health workers. They received performance-based incentives for accompanying pregnant women during antenatal care (ANC) visits and facility-based delivery. A nurse-midwife provided ANC and delivery care and supervised the maternal health workers. To overcome geographic barriers to delivering at the clinic, women who lived far from the clinic stayed at a maternal lying-in house prior to their expected delivery dates. We analyzed data routinely collected from delivery and ANC registers to compare service utilization before and after implementation of the program.
After the establishment of the program, the average number first ANC visits increased from 20 to 31 per month. The clinic recorded 178 deliveries in the first year of the program and 216 in the second year, compared to 46 in the year preceding the program. During the first two years of the program, 49 women with complications were successfully transported to the district hospital, and no maternal deaths occurred among the women served by the program.
Our results demonstrate that it is possible to achieve dramatic improvements in the utilization of maternal health services and facility-based delivery by strengthening human resource capacity, implementing active follow-up in the community, and de-incentivizing home births.
PMCID: PMC3428338  PMID: 22952607
22.  Utilisation of reproductive health services in rural Vietnam; are there equal opportunities to plan and protect pregnancies? 
STUDY OBJECTIVES: To describe the utilisation of reproductive health services (family planning, antenatal care, and delivery services) and the socioeconomic determinants for utilisation of health services. DESIGN: This was a cross sectional survey, using a multistage sampling technique. SETTING: Tien Hai district, Thai Binh Province, Vietnam. Altogether 1132 mothers with children under 5 years of age were interviewed about antenatal, delivery, and family planning services utilisation during a five year period (1987-92). MAIN RESULTS: Seventy per cent of the women used contraceptive methods, with the intrauterine device being the most common. The use of the intrauterine device was positively associated with the number of children alive but not with other sociodemographic factors in the mothers. Thirty per cent of the women had attended an antenatal clinic for check ups during their last pregnancy. It was found that mothers with fewer deliveries, higher education, and who were Buddhist or of no religion had utilised antenatal services more frequently than the others. Seventy five per cent of the mothers in this study had been assisted by health professionals at their last delivery. Those mothers with fewer deliveries, higher education, who were Buddhist or had no religion, and had sufficient to eat were more likely to have their births attended by health professionals. CONCLUSIONS: In spite of a relatively high education level in the population and services which are generally available, there was an under utilisation of antenatal and delivery care and there was no equal opportunity for different groups of mothers to use these services. Family planning services were, however, frequently used and were used to the same extent by different groups of mothers. Except for abortion, alternatives to the intrauterine device method were rarely available. If pregnancies are to be protected in an efficient way in rural Vietnam, reproductive health care must be strengthened and efforts should be made to reach the women who are not using these services at present.
PMCID: PMC1060318  PMID: 8882231
23.  Determinants of institutional delivery in rural Jhang, Pakistan 
There is expert consensus that delivery at a health facility substantially reduces the risk of maternal death. By increasing the use of antenatal (ANC), postnatal care (PNC) and family planning, the risk of maternal death can be further reduced. There has been little investigation of factors associated with the use of these services in Pakistan.
A representative household survey was conducted in rural areas of Jhang district, Pakistan, to determine the effect of demographic, economic and program factors on the utilization of maternal health services. Married women who had children ages 12 months or younger were interviewed. Data was collected from 2,018 women on socio-demographic characteristics and the utilization of health services. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify the correlates of health services use. Marginal effects quantify the impact of various factors on service utilization.
Parity and education had the largest impact on institutional delivery: women were substantially less likely to deliver at a health facility after their first birth; women with primary or higher education were much more likely to have an institutional delivery. Age, autonomy, household wealth, proximity to a health facility and exposure to mass media were also important drivers of institutional delivery. The use of family planning within a year of delivery was low, with parity, education and husband's approval being the strongest determinants of use.
The findings suggest that rural women are likely to respond to well-designed interventions that remove financial and physical barriers to accessing maternal health services and motivate women by emphasizing the benefits of these services. Interventions should specifically target women who have two or more living children, little formal education and are from the poorest households.
PMCID: PMC3159141  PMID: 21801437
24.  Missed Opportunities: Poor Linkage into Ongoing Care for HIV-Positive Pregnant Women in Mwanza, Tanzania 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40091.
Global coverage of prevention of mother-to-child (PMTCT) services reached 53% in 2009. However the number of pregnant women who test positive for HIV in antenatal clinics and who link into long-term HIV care is not known in many resource-poor countries. We measured the proportion of HIV-positive pregnant women in Mwanza city, Tanzania, who completed the cascade of care from antenatal HIV diagnosis to assessment and engagement in care in adult HIV clinics.
Thirty antenatal and maternity ward health workers were interviewed about PMTCT activities. Nine antenatal HIV education sessions were observed. A prospective cohort of 403 HIV-positive women was enrolled by specially-trained clinicians and nurses on admission to delivery and followed for four months post-partum. Information was collected on referral and attendance at adult HIV clinics, eligibility for highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and reasons for lack of attendance.
Overall, 70% of PMTCT health workers referred HIV-positive pregnant women to the HIV clinic for assessment and care. Antenatal HIV education sessions did not cover on-going care for HIV-infected women. Of 310 cohort participants tested in pregnancy, 51% had received an HIV clinic referral pre-delivery. Only 32% of 244 women followed to four months post-partum had attended an HIV clinic and been assessed for HAART eligibility. Non-attendance for HIV care was independently associated with fewer antenatal visits, poor PMTCT prophylaxis compliance, non-disclosure of HIV status, and non-Sukuma ethnicity.
Most women identified as HIV-positive during pregnancy were not assessed for HAART eligibility during pregnancy or in the first four months post-partum. Initiating HAART at the antenatal clinic, improved counselling and linkages to care between PMTCT and adult HIV treatment services and reducing stigma surrounding disclosure of HIV results would benefit on-going care of HIV-positive pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC3392272  PMID: 22808096
25.  Perception of quality of maternal healthcare services among women utilising antenatal services in selected primary health facilities in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria 
This is a cross-sectional descriptive study aimed at assessing antenatal care service attendees’ perception of quality of maternal healthcare (MHC) services in Anambra State, southeast Nigeria.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 310 pregnant women utilising antenatal care (ANC) services in three purposively selected primary health centres (PHCs) in rural communities in Anambra State were studied. Reponses were elicited from the participants selected consecutively over a 4-month period, using a pre-tested, semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaire on socio-demographic characteristics, utilisation and perception of MHC services. Data collected were analysed using SPSS version 17.
Findings showed that utilisation of facility for both antenatal (97.0%; 95% CI, 94.4–98.4%) and natal services (92.7%; 95% CI 89.2–95.2%) were quite high. Generally, most of the women were satisfied with MHC services (89.7%). Most of them were satisfied with the staff attitude (85.1%), waiting time (84.1%) and cost of services (79.5%). Being ≥30 years (X2 = 4.61, P = 0.032), married (X2 = 9.70, P = 0.008) and multiparous (X2 = 9.14, P = 0.028), as well as utilisation of formal health facility for antenatal (X2 = 26.94, P = 0.000) and natal (X2 = 33.42, P = 0.000) services were associated with satisfaction with maternal health services.
The study showed high level of satisfaction with quality of maternal health services among antenatal attendees and highlights the need to strengthen interventions that increase uptake of formal MHC services.
PMCID: PMC4003719  PMID: 24791050
Perception; maternal health; mothers; satisfaction; utilisation

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