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.
Maternal health; antenatal care; skilled attendance at delivery; post natal care; multilevel analysis
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.
Antenatal information; Perinatal care information; Perinatal period; Quality of care; Skilled birth attendant
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.
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.
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.
Home deliveries; Male involvement; Birth plan; Sub-Saharan Africa
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.
Delivery; Obstetric care; Skilled birth attendants; Health facilities; Births; Maternity; Kenya
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.
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.
Antenatal Care; Service Utilization; Southern Ethiopia
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.
mHealth; Mobile health; SMS text messages; Perinatal; Prenatal; Healthcare; Argentina
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Traditional birth attendants (TBAs) have been a subject of discussion in the provision of maternal and newborn health care. The objective of this study was to assess the role of trained traditional birth attendants in maternal and newborn health care in Afar Regional State of Ethiopia.
A qualitative study was used where 21 in-depth interviews and 6 focus group discussions were conducted with health service providers, trained traditional birth attendants, mothers, men, kebele leaders and district health personnel.
The findings of this study indicate that trained traditional birth attendants are the backbone of the maternal and child health development in pastoralist communities. However, the current numbers are inadequate and cannot meet the needs of the pastoralist communities including antenatal care, delivery, postnatal care and family planning. In addition to service delivery, all respondents agreed on multiple contributions of trained TBAs, which include counselling, child care, immunisation, postnatal care, detection of complication and other social services.
Without deployment of adequate numbers of trained health workers for delivery services, trained traditional birth attendants remain vital for the rural community in need of maternal and child health care services. With close supportive supervision and evaluation of the trainings, the TBAs can greatly contribute to decreasing maternal and newborn mortality rates.
Traditional birth attendants; maternal and child health; pastoralist community
Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) populations have disproportionately high rates of adverse perinatal outcomes relative to other Australians. Poorer access to good quality maternal health care is a key driver of this disparity. The aim of this study was to describe patterns of delivery of maternity care and service gaps in primary care services in Australian Indigenous communities.
We undertook a cross-sectional baseline audit for a quality improvement intervention. Medical records of 535 women from 34 Indigenous community health centres in five regions (Top End of Northern Territory 13, Central Australia 2, Far West New South Wales 6, Western Australia 9, and North Queensland 4) were audited. The main outcome measures included: adherence to recommended protocols and procedures in the antenatal and postnatal periods including: clinical, laboratory and ultrasound investigations; screening for gestational diabetes and Group B Streptococcus; brief intervention/advice on health-related behaviours and risks; and follow up of identified health problems.
The proportion of women presenting for their first antenatal visit in the first trimester ranged from 34% to 49% between regions; consequently, documentation of care early in pregnancy was poor. Overall, documentation of routine antenatal investigations and brief interventions/advice regarding health behaviours varied, and generally indicated that these services were underutilised. For example, 46% of known smokers received smoking cessation advice/counselling; 52% of all women received antenatal education and 51% had investigation for gestational diabetes. Overall, there was relatively good documentation of follow up of identified problems related to hypertension or diabetes, with over 70% of identified women being referred to a GP/Obstetrician.
Participating services had both strengths and weaknesses in the delivery of maternal health care. Increasing access to evidence-based screening and health information (most notably around smoking cessation) were consistently identified as opportunities for improvement across services.
Antenatal ultrasound scan is a widely accepted component of antenatal care. Studies have looked at the relationship between ultrasound scanning and caesarean section (CS) in certain groups of women in China. However, there are limited data on the utilization of antenatal ultrasound scanning in the general population, including its association with CS. The purpose of this study is to describe the utilization of antenatal ultrasound screening in rural Eastern China and to explore the association between antenatal ultrasound scan and uptake of CS.
Based on a cluster randomized sample, a total of 2326 women with childbirth participated in the study. A household survey was conducted to collect socio-economic information, obstetric history and utilization of maternal health services.
Coverage of antenatal care was 96.8% (2251/2326). During antenatal care, 96.1% (2164/2251) women received ultrasound screening and the reported average number was 2.55. 46.8% women received at least 3 ultrasound scans and the maximum number reached 11. The CS rate was found to be 54.8% (1275/2326). After adjusting for socio-demographic and clinical variables, it showed a statistically significant association between antenatal ultrasound scans and uptake of CS by multivariate logistic regression model. High husband education level, high maternal age, having previous adverse pregnant outcome and pregnancy complications during the index pregnancy were also found to be risk factors of choosing a CS.
A high use of antenatal ultrasound scan in rural Eastern China is found and is influenced by socio-demographic and clinical factors. Evidence-based guidelines for antenatal ultrasound scans need to be developed and disseminated to clinicians including physicians, nurses and sonographers. Guidance about the appropriate use of ultrasound scans should also be shared with women in order to discourage unreasonable expectations and demands. It is important to monitor the use of antenatal ultrasound scan as well as the indications for caesarean section in rural China.
Ultrasonography; Prenatal; Caesarean Section; Rural Health; China
Pregnant women inhabiting urban slums are a “high risk” group with limited access to health facilities. Hazardous maternal health practices are rampant in slum areas. Barriers to utilization of health services are well documented. Slums in the same city may differ from one another in their health indicators and service utilization rates. The study examines whether hazardous maternal care practices exist in and whether there are differences in the utilization rates of health services in two different slums.
Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional study was carried out in two urban slums of Aligarh city (Uttar Pradesh, India). House-to-house survey was conducted and 200 mothers having live births in the study period were interviewed. The outcome measures were utilization of antenatal care, natal care, postnatal care, and early infant feeding practices. Rates of hazardous health practices and reasons for these practices were elicited.
Hazardous maternal health practices were common. At least one antenatal visit was accepted by a little more than half the mothers, but delivery was predominantly home based carried out under unsafe conditions. Important barriers to utilization included family tradition, financial constraints, and rude behavior of health personnel in hospitals. Significant differences existed between the two slums.
The fact that barriers to utilization at a local level may differ significantly between slums must be recognized, identified, and addressed in the district level planning for health. Empowerment of slum communities as one of the stakeholders can lend them a stronger voice and help improve access to services.
Barriers to utilization; hazardous delivery practices; maternal health; urban slums
BACKGROUND: Changing Childbirth (1993), a report on the future of maternity
services in the United Kingdom, endorsed the development of a primarily
community based midwifery led service for normal pregnancy, with priority
given to the provision of "woman centred care". This has led to the
development of local schemes emphasising continuity of midwifery care and
increased choice and control for women. AIMS: To compare two models of
midwifery group practices (shared caseload and personal caseload) in terms
of: (a) the extent to which women see the same midwife antenatally and know
the delivery midwife, and (b) women's preference for continuity and
satisfaction with their care. METHODS: A review of maternity case notes and
survey of a cohort of women at 36 weeks of gestation and 2 weeks postpartum
who attended the two midwifery group practices. Questionnaires were
completed by 247 women antenatally (72% response) and 222 (68%)
postnatally. Outcome measures were the level of continuity experienced
during antenatal, intrapartum, and postnatal care, women's preferences for
continuity of carer, and ratings of satisfaction with care. RESULTS: The
higher level of antenatal continuity of carer with personal caseload
midwifery was associated with a lower percentage having previously met
their main delivery midwife (60% v 74%). Women's preferences for antenatal
continuity were significantly associated with their experiences. Postnatal
rating of knowing the delivery midwife as "very important indeed" was
associated with both previous antenatal ratings of its importance, and
women's actual experiences. Personal continuity of carer was not a clear
predictor of women's satisfaction with care. Of greater importance were
women's expectations, their relations with midwives, communication, and
involvement in decision making. CONCLUSIONS: Midwifery led schemes based on
both shared and personal caseloads are acceptable to women. More important
determinants of quality and women's satisfaction are the ethos of care
consistency of care, good communication, and participation in decisions.
Surmang, Qinghai Province is a rural nomadic Tibetan region in western China recently devastated by the 2010 Yushu earthquake; little information is available on access and coverage of maternal and child health services.
A cross-sectional household survey was conducted in August 2004. 402 women of reproductive age (15-50) were interviewed regarding their pregnancy history, access to and utilization of health care, and infant and child health care practices.
Women's access to education was low at 15% for any formal schooling; adult female literacy was <20%. One third of women received any antenatal care during their last pregnancy. Institutional delivery and skilled birth attendance were <1%, and there were no reported cesarean deliveries. Birth was commonly attended by a female relative, and 8% of women delivered alone. Use of unsterilized instrument to cut the umbilical cord was nearly universal (94%), while coverage for tetanus toxoid immunization was only 14%. Traditional Tibetan healers were frequently sought for problems during pregnancy (70%), the postpartum period (87%), and for childhood illnesses (74%). Western medicine (61%) was preferred over Tibetan medicine (9%) for preventive antenatal care. The average time to reach a health facility was 4.3 hours. Postpartum infectious morbidity appeared to be high, but only 3% of women with postpartum problems received western medical care. 64% of recently pregnant women reported that they were very worried about dying in childbirth. The community reported 3 maternal deaths and 103 live births in the 19 months prior to the survey.
While China is on track to achieve national Millennium Development Goal targets for maternal and child health, women and children in Surmang suffer from substantial health inequities in access to antenatal, skilled birth and postpartum care. Institutional delivery, skilled attendance and cesarean delivery are virtually inaccessible, and consequently maternal and infant morbidity and mortality are likely high. Urgent action is needed to improve access to maternal, neonatal and child health care in these marginalized populations. The reconstruction after the recent earthquake provides a unique opportunity to link this population with the health system.
Tibetan; Qinghai; Yushu; China; facility delivery; institutional delivery; maternal morbidity; maternal mortality; maternal health; child health; newborn health; Yushu earthquake
In Tanzania, maternal mortality ratio remains unacceptably high at 578/100,000 live births. Despite a high coverage of antenatal care (96%), only 44% of deliveries take place within the formal health services. Still, "Ensure skilled attendant at birth" is acknowledged as one of the most effective interventions to reduce maternal deaths. Exploring the potential of community-based interventions in increasing the utilization of obstetric care, the study aimed at developing, testing and assessing a community-based safe motherhood intervention in Mtwara rural District of Tanzania.
This community-based intervention was designed as a pre-post comparison study, covering 4 villages with a total population of 8300. Intervention activities were implemented by 50 trained safe motherhood promoters (SMPs). Their tasks focused on promoting early and complete antenatal care visits and delivery with a skilled attendant. Data on all 512 deliveries taking place from October 2004 to November 2006 were collected by the SMPs and cross-checked with health service records. In addition 242 respondents were interviewed with respect to knowledge on safe motherhood issues and their perception of the SMP's performance. Skilled delivery attendance was our primary outcome; secondary outcomes included antenatal care attendance and knowledge on Safe Motherhood issues.
Deliveries with skilled attendant significantly increased from 34.1% to 51.4% (ρ < 0.05). Early ANC booking (4 to 16 weeks) rose significantly from 18.7% at baseline to 37.7% in 2005 and 56.9% (ρ < 0.001) at final assessment. After two years 44 (88%) of the SMPs were still active, 79% of pregnant women were visited. Further benefits included the enhancement of male involvement in safe motherhood issues.
The study has demonstrated the effectiveness of community-based safe motherhood intervention in promoting the utilization of obstetric care and a skilled attendant at delivery. This improvement is attributed to the SMPs' home visits and the close collaboration with existing community structures as well as health services.
Delivering health services to dense populations is more practical than to dispersed populations, other factors constant. This engenders the hypothesis that population density positively affects coverage rates of health services. This hypothesis has been tested indirectly for some services at a local level, but not at a national level.
We use cross-sectional data to conduct cross-country, OLS regressions at the national level to estimate the relationship between population density and maternal health coverage. We separately estimate the effect of two measures of density on three population-level coverage rates (6 tests in total). Our coverage indicators are the fraction of the maternal population completing four antenatal care visits and the utilization rates of both skilled birth attendants and in-facility delivery. The first density metric we use is the percentage of a population living in an urban area. The second metric, which we denote as a density score, is a relative ranking of countries by population density. The score’s calculation discounts a nation’s uninhabited territory under the assumption those areas are irrelevant to service delivery.
We find significantly positive relationships between our maternal health indicators and density measures. On average, a one-unit increase in our density score is equivalent to a 0.2% increase in coverage rates.
Countries with dispersed populations face higher burdens to achieve multinational coverage targets such as the United Nations’ Millennial Development Goals.
Population density; Obstetric health coverage; Maternal and child health