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1.  Antenatal care visit attendance, intermittent preventive treatment and bed net use during pregnancy in Gabon 
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) and insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) must be provided during antenatal care (ANC) visits for malaria prevention during pregnancy. The aim of this study was to determine the level of ANC attendance and its relationship with IPTp-SP and bed net coverage in Gabonese pregnant women.
This was a cross-sectional survey performed in 2011 in sentinel sites for malaria: two ANC units (Melen and Owendo) and one delivery unit (CHL). A validated structured questionnaire was used to collect the following data: age, parity, history of the current pregnancy including gestational age at the interview, number of ANC visits already performed, date of first visit, use of malaria preventive measure and details on IPTp-SP administration.
During the study, 1030 women were interviewed, 735 at their ANC visit and 295 at the delivery. Their median age was 24[20–29] years and 21.0% were primigravidae. More than 70.0% attended their first ANC visit during the second trimester. Among the 442 women who were at the end of their pregnancy, 71.5% had a correct attendance, at least four ANC visits, most frequently women with no education and older women; IPTp-SP was offered to 84.1% of them and 57.4% received at least two doses. The number of SP doses was correlated to the number of ANC visits. Bed net coverage was 59.0%, not associated with ANC attendance. Among the women with correct ANC attendance, only 49.5% had a complete IPTp-SP course associated with bed net use during pregnancy. In the site where SP administration was supervised, 80% had four ANC visits and 97.4% received a full 2-dose course of IPTp-SP.
Despite a high level of correct ANC attendance in Gabon, the goal of 80% of women with 2-dose IPTp-SP during pregnancy is not achieved. Evaluations, training of health workers, as well as surveys from other areas of the country are needed to further measure the implementation and the impact of these strategies.
PMCID: PMC3599563  PMID: 23442536
AIDS care  2012;24(11):1442-1447.
A cluster randomized controlled trial was initiated in Kenya to determine if full integration (FI) of HIV care, including HAART, into antenatal care (ANC) clinics improves health outcomes among HIV-infected women and exposed infants, compared to a non-integrated (NI) model. This paper examines ANC clients’ satisfaction with and preferences regarding HIV-integrated services. In this cross-sectional study, pregnant women attending five FI clinics (n=185) and four NI clinics (n=141) completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire following an ANC visit. By self-report, 55 women (17%) were HIV(+), 230 (71%) were HIV(−) and 40 (12%) did not know their HIV status. Among HIV-infected women, 79% attending FI clinics were very satisfied with their clinic visit compared to 54% of women attending NI clinics (P=0.044); no such difference was found among HIV-uninfected women. In multivariate analysis, overall satisfaction was also independently associated with satisfaction with administrative staff, satisfaction with health care providers, positive evaluation of wait time, and having encountered a receptionist. Full integration of HIV care into antenatal clinics can significantly increase overall satisfaction with care for HIV-infected women, with no significant decrease in satisfaction for HIV-uninfected women served in the same clinics.
PMCID: PMC3495002  PMID: 22296261
patient satisfaction; HIV; antenatal care; service integration; Kenya
3.  Utilization of maternal health services among young women in Kenya: Insights from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, 2003 
Use of maternal health services is an effective means for reducing the risk of maternal morbidity and mortality, especially in places where the general health status of women is poor. This study was guided by the following objectives: 1) To determine the relationship between timing of first antenatal care (ANC) visit and type of delivery assistance 2) To establish the determinants of timing of first ANC visit and type delivery assistance.
Data used were drawn from the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, with a focus on young women aged 15-24. The dependent variables were: Timing of first ANC visit coded as "None"; "Late" and "Early", and type of delivery assistance coded as "None"; "Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA)" and "Skilled professional". Control variables included: education, household wealth, urban-rural residence, ethnicity, parity, age at birth of the last child and marital status. Multivariate ordered logistic regression model was used.
The study results show that place of residence, household wealth, education, ethnicity, parity, marital status and age at birth of the last child had strong influences on timing of first ANC visit and the type of delivery assistance received. The major finding is an association between early timing of the first ANC visit and use of skilled professionals at delivery.
This study confirms that timing of first antenatal care is indeed an important entry point for delivery care as young women who initiated antenatal care early were more likely to use skilled professional assistance at delivery than their counterparts who initiated ANC late. The results indicate that a large percentage of young pregnant women do not seek ANC during their first trimester as is recommended by the WHO, which may affect the type of assistance they receive during delivery. It is important that programs aimed at improving maternal health include targeting young women, especially those from rural areas, with low levels of education, higher parity and from poor households, given their high risk during pregnancy. The finding that a considerably high proportion of young women use TBAs as opposed to use of skilled professionals is baffling and calls for further research.
PMCID: PMC3022772  PMID: 21214960
4.  Rural Indonesia women’s traditional beliefs about antenatal care 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:589.
The Indonesia Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of 420/100.00 live births remains among the highest in East Asia while coverage of births assisted by skilled providers is still low. Traditional beliefs have been a key factor associated with the choice between midwives or traditional birth attendants (TBA) and the low number of antenatal care visits in rural West Sumatra.
We conducted three focus groups with 16 women from rural West Java to describe their perception regarding issues related to traditional beliefs. Focus group discussions provided data for the content analysis.
The majority of the 16 women interviewed was from Village Dago, West Java and had only an elementary school education. Their ages ranged from 19 to 40 years. Most were multiparous housewives with an income of IDR 918.750 per month, which was lower than the monthly income in West Java (IDR. 1.172.060). Emerging from the focus group discussion were four main themes regarding their pregnancy and traditional beliefs: 1) pregnancy was a normal cycle in women’s life (pregnancy is a natural phenomena, not a sickness; no recognition of danger signs during pregnancy and death of baby or mother during pregnancy was brought about by God’s will); 2) women followed the traditional beliefs (positive motivation to follow the traditional beliefs and fear of not following the traditional beliefs); 3) relying on TBA called paraji rather than midwife (parajis are kind, tolerant and patient and have more experience than midwives; more accessibility than midwives and encouragement of natural birth) and 4) midwives are more secure than paraji; (they use a medical standard of care).
Women’s beliefs grounded in religion and tradition permeated the village culture making it difficult to counter their long held health practices with practices based on recent advances in health care. Use of TBA in this village was still dominant and women believed that following traditional beliefs led to a healthy pregnancy therefore, they also followed all relatives’ suggestions. Understanding the complexities of local culture is the first step to improving women’s awareness of how to preserve their pregnancy and prevent complications.
PMCID: PMC3532090  PMID: 23106915
Pregnancy complications; Rural women; Traditional beliefs; Traditional births attendant
5.  Urban - rural disparities in antenatal care utilization: a study of two cohorts of pregnant women in Vietnam 
The use of antenatal care (ANC) varies between countries and in different settings within each country. Most previous studies of ANC in Vietnam have been cross-sectional, and conducted in rural areas before the year 2000. This study aims to compare the pattern and the adequacy of ANC used in rural and urban Vietnam following two cohorts of pregnant women.
A comparative study with two cohorts comprising totally 2132 pregnant women were followed in two health and demographic surveillance sites, one rural and one urban in Hanoi province, Vietnam. The women were quarterly interviewed using a structured questionnaire until delivery. The primary information obtained was the number and the content of ANC visits.
Almost all women reported some use of ANC. The average number of visits was much lower in the rural setting (4.4) than in the urban (7.7). In the rural area, 77.2% of women had at least three visits and 69.1% attended ANC during the first trimester. The corresponding percentages for the urban women were 97.2% and 97.2%. Only 20.3% of the rural women compared to 81.1% of the urban women received all core ANC services. As a result, the adequate use of ANC was 5.2 times in the urban than in the rural setting (78.3% compared to 15.2%). Nearly all women received ultrasound examination during pregnancy with a mean value of 6.0 scans per woman in the urban area and 3.5 in the rural. Most rural women used ANC at commune health centres and private clinics while urban women mainly visited public hospitals. Expenditure related to ANC utilization for the urban women was 7.1 times that for the urban women.
The women in the rural area attended ANC later, had fewer visits and received much fewer services than urban women. The large disparity in ANC adequacy between the two settings suggests special attention for the ANC programme in rural areas focusing on its content. Revision and enforcement of the national guidelines to improve the behaviour and practice of both users and providers are necessary.
PMCID: PMC3224373  PMID: 21605446
Antenatal care; adequacy; disparities; urban - rural comparison; Vietnam
6.  Trust and ambivalence in midwives' views towards women developing pelvic pain during pregnancy: a qualitative study 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:600.
The Swedish midwife plays a significant role in the antenatal care (ANC) system, and a majority of pregnant women are satisfied with their ANC. Pelvic pain during pregnancy (PP) is prevalent. The study investigated the views, perceptions and attitudes of midwives currently working in ANC regarding PP during pregnancy.
The informants were ten midwives between the ages of 35 to 64 years, with a combined experience of 250 years of midwifery. In-depth interviews (n = 4) and one focus group discussion (n = 6) were conducted. The data were interpreted using a qualitative content analysis design.
PP was considered a common, clinical problem that had most likely increased in prevalence in recent decades and could feature prominently in a woman's experience of pregnancy. The informants had developed a strategy for supporting pregnant women affected by PP. The pregnant woman's fear of not being believed concerning her symptoms and the risk of being regarded as a malingerer were acknowledged. Mistrust between a midwife and a woman might occur when the patient's symptoms were vague and ill defined. PP was not considered as something that complicated delivery, and women experiencing it were advised to await 'the natural course of the pregnancy'.
PP was considered a common, clinical problem and the informants had developed a strategy for supporting pregnant women affected by PP. However, the woman's fear of not being believed concerning her symptoms of PP was acknowledged and mistrust might occur between a midwife and a woman if vague symptoms were reported.
PMCID: PMC2964625  PMID: 20937158
7.  How much time do health services spend on antenatal care? Implications for the introduction of the focused antenatal care model in Tanzania 
Antenatal care (ANC) is a widely used strategy to improve the health of pregnant women and to encourage skilled care during childbirth. In 2002, the Ministry of Health of the United Republic of Tanzania developed a national adaptation plan based on the new model of the World Health Organisation (WHO). In this study we assess the time health workers currently spent on providing ANC services and compare it to the requirements anticipated for the new ANC model in order to identify the implications of Focused ANC on health care providers' workload.
Health workers in four dispensaries in Mtwara Urban District, Southern Tanzania, were observed while providing routine ANC. The time used for the overall activity as well as for the different, specific components of 71 ANC service provisions was measured in detail; 28 of these were first visits and 43 revisits. Standard time requirements for the provision of focused ANC were assessed through simulated consultations based on the new guidelines.
The average time health workers currently spend for providing ANC service to a first visit client was found to be 15 minutes; the provision of ANC according to the focused ANC model was assessed to be 46 minutes. For a revisiting client the difference between current practise and the anticipated standard of the new model was 27 minutes (9 vs. 36 min.). The major discrepancy between the two procedures was related to counselling. On average a first visit client was counselled for 1:30 minutes, while counselling in revisiting clients did hardly take place at all. The simulation of focused ANC revealed that proper counselling would take about 15 minutes per visit.
While the introduction of focused ANC has the potential to improve the health of pregnant women and to raise the number of births attended by skilled staff in Tanzania, it may need additional investment in human resources. The generally anticipated saving effect of the new model through the reduction of routine consultations may not materialise because the number of consultations is already low in Tanzania with a median of only 4 visits per pregnancy. Special attention needs to be given to counselling attitudes and skills during the training for Focused ANC as this component is identified as the major difference between old practise and the new model. Our estimated requirement of 46 minutes per first visit consultation matches well with the WHO estimate of 40 minutes.
PMCID: PMC1557863  PMID: 16796749
8.  Male partner attendance of skilled antenatal care in peri-urban Gulu district, Northern Uganda 
Male partner attendance of skilled Antenatal Care (ANC) is beneficial to improving maternal outcomes. This study investigated the level, perceived benefits and factors associated with male partner attendance of skilled ANC in a peri-urban community recovering from two decades of civil conflict.
This cross-sectional survey used multi-stage sampling in 12 villages of Omoro county to select 331 married male respondents aged 18 years or more, whose female spouses had childbirth within 24 months prior to the survey. A structured questionnaire elicited responses about male partner attendance of ANC during pregnancy at a public health facility as the main outcome variable. Analysis used Generalized Linear Model (GLM) in Stata version 10.0 to obtain Prevalence Risk Ratios (PRR) for association between the binary outcome and independent factors. All factors significant at p < 0.15 and potential confounders were included in the multivariable model.
Overall, 65.4% (95%CI; 60.3, 70.5) male partners attended at least one skilled ANC visit. Mean age was 31.9 years [SD 8.2]. Perceived benefits of attending ANC were: HIV screening (74.5%), monitoring foetal growth (34%) and identifying complications during pregnancy (18.9%). Factors independently associated with higher ANC attendance were: knowledge of 3 or more ANC services (adj.PRR 2.77; 95%CI 2.24, 3.42), obtaining health information from facility health workers (adj.PRR 1.14; 95%CI 1.01, 1.29) and if spouse had skilled attendance at last childbirth (adj.PRR 1.31; 95%CI 1.04-1.64). However, factors for low attendance were: male partners intending their spouse to carry another pregnancy (adj.PRR 0.83; 95%CI 0.71, 0.97) and living more than 5 Km from a health facility (adj.PRR 0.83, 95%CI 0.70, 0.98).
Men who were knowledgeable of ANC services, obtained health information from a health worker and whose spouses utilised skilled delivery at last pregnancy were more likely to accompany their spouses at ANC, unlike those who wanted to have more children and lived more than 5 km from the health facility. These findings suggest that empowering male partners with knowledge about ANC services may increase their ANC participation and in turn increase skilled delivery. This strategy may improve maternal health care in post conflict and resource-limited settings.
PMCID: PMC2946269  PMID: 20846369
9.  How mistimed and unwanted pregnancies affect timing of antenatal care initiation in three districts in Tanzania 
Early antenatal care (ANC) initiation is a doorway to early detection and management of potential complications associated with pregnancy. Although the literature reports various factors associated with ANC initiation such as parity and age, pregnancy intentions is yet to be recognized as a possible predictor of timing of ANC initiation.
Data originate from a cross-sectional household survey on health behaviour and service utilization patterns. The survey was conducted in 2011 in Rufiji, Kilombero and Ulanga districts in Tanzania on 3,127 women from whom 910 of reproductive age who had given birth in the past two years and sought ANC at least once during pregnancy were selected for the current analysis. ANC initiation was considered to be early only if it occurred in the first trimester of pregnancy gestation. A recently completed pregnancy was defined as mistimed if a woman wanted it later, and if she did not want it at all the pregnancy was termed as unwanted. Chi-square was used to test for associations and multinomial logistic regression was conducted to examine how mistimed and unwanted pregnancies relate with timing of ANC initiation.
Although 49.3% of the women intended to become pregnant, 50.7% (34.9% mistimed and 15.8% unwanted) became pregnant unintentionally. While ANC initiation in the 1st trimester was 18.5%, so was 71.7% and 9.9% in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters respectively. Multivariate analysis revealed that ANC initiation in the 2nd trimester was 1.68 (95% CI 1.10–2.58) and 2.00 (95% CI 1.05–3.82) times more likely for mistimed and unwanted pregnancies respectively compared to intended pregnancies. These estimates rose to 2.81 (95% CI 1.41–5.59) and 4.10 (95% CI 1.68–10.00) respectively in the 3rd trimester. We controlled for gravidity, age, education, household wealth, marital status, religion, district of residence and travel time to a health facility.
Late ANC initiation is a significant maternal and child health consequence of mistimed and unwanted pregnancies in Tanzania. Women should be empowered to delay or avoid pregnancies whenever they need to do so. Appropriate counseling to women, especially those who happen to conceive unintentionally is needed to minimize the possibility of delaying ANC initiation.
PMCID: PMC3574825  PMID: 23388110
Mistimed pregnancy; Unwanted pregnancy; Timing; ANC initiation; Tanzania
10.  “They Told Me to Come Back”: Women’s Antenatal Care Booking Experience in Inner-City Johannesburg 
Maternal and Child Health Journal  2012;17(2):359-367.
To assess women’s experience of public antenatal care (ANC) services and reasons for late antenatal care attendance in inner-city Johannesburg, South Africa. This cross-sectional study was conducted at three public labour wards in Johannesburg. Interviews were conducted with 208 women who had a live-birth in October 2009. Women were interviewed in the labour wards post-delivery about their ANC experience. Gestational age at first clinic visit was compared to gestational age at booking (ANC service provided). ANC attendance was high (97.0 %) with 46.0 % seeking care before 20 weeks gestation (early). Among the 198 women who sought care, 19.2 % were asked to return more than a month later, resulting in a 3-month delay in being booked into the clinic for these women. Additionally 49.0 % of women reported no antenatal screening being conducted when they first sought care at the clinic. Delay in recognizing pregnancy (21.7 %) and lack of time (20.8 %) were among the reasons women gave for late attendance. Clinic booking procedures and delays in diagnosing pregnancy are important factors causing women to access antenatal care late. In a country where a third of pregnant women are HIV infected, early ANC is vital in order to optimise ART initiation and thereby reduce maternal mortality and paediatric HIV infection. It is therefore imperative that existing antenatal care policies are implemented and reinforced and that women are empowered to demand better services.
PMCID: PMC3587683  PMID: 22527767
Antenatal care; South Africa; Late ANC access; ANC booking experience; PMTCT; HIV
11.  The role of mothers-in-law in antenatal care decision-making in Nepal: a qualitative study 
Antenatal care (ANC) has been recognised as a way to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies. However, only 29% of pregnant women receive the recommended four antenatal visits in Nepal but reasons for such low utilisation are poorly understood. As in many countries of South Asia, mothers-in-law play a crucial role in the decisions around accessing health care facilities and providers. This paper aims to explore the mother-in-law's role in (a) her daughter-in-law's ANC uptake; and (b) the decision-making process about using ANC services in Nepal.
In-depth interviews were conducted with 30 purposively selected antenatal or postnatal mothers (half users, half non-users of ANC), 10 husbands and 10 mothers-in-law in two different (urban and rural) communities.
Our findings suggest that mothers-in-law sometime have a positive influence, for example when encouraging women to seek ANC, but more often it is negative. Like many rural women of their generation, all mothers-in-law in this study were illiterate and most had not used ANC themselves. The main factors leading mothers-in-law not to support/encourage ANC check ups were expectations regarding pregnant women fulfilling their household duties, perceptions that ANC was not beneficial based largely on their own past experiences, the scarcity of resources under their control and power relations between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Individual knowledge and social class of the mothers-in-law of users and non-users differed significantly, which is likely to have had an effect on their perceptions of the benefits of ANC.
Mothers-in-law have a strong influence on the uptake of ANC in Nepal. Understanding their role is important if we are to design and target effective community-based health promotion interventions. Health promotion and educational interventions to improve the use of ANC should target women, husbands and family members, particularly mothers-in-law where they control access to family resources.
PMCID: PMC2910658  PMID: 20594340
12.  Development and pretesting of an information, education and communication (IEC) focused antenatal care handbook in Pakistan 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:91.
Improvement of maternal morbidity and mortality indicators remains a major challenge for developing countries. Antenatal care is one of the key strategies in maintaining safe motherhood. The objective of this study was to develop and pretest a culturally relevant Antenatal Care Handbook (ANC handbook) utilizing the principles of information, education, and communication (IEC). We developed the ANC handbook after an extensive review of existing literature, available instruments (for keeping track of pregnancy and informing pregnant women), and seeking expert opinion. To pretest the ANC handbook, a cross-sectional approach was adopted, and information was collected from 300 expectant women, 150 women each from the community and from the health facility arm. Trained field workers conducted the pretesting from May 2004 to June 2004. Feedback on messages for pregnant mothers contained in the handbook was also assessed. At the same time, the ANC handbook was reviewed by 25 health care providers (including community health workers, physicians, nurses, and other health staff working at various kinds of health care facilities). Data were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
Twenty-three percent of the interviewed women were primigravida, 50% were multigravida and 27% were grandmultipara. The mean age of the women in the community sample was 25.8 SD: 4.9 years and in the hospital sample it was 25.7 SD: 5.2 years. No significant differences were observed between women interviewed at community or health facilities related to their understanding of ANC messages, and the majority of messages were well understood. Similarly, health care providers found all of the instruments useful and workable in the health system. Finally, feedback from pregnant women and health care staff regarding different components of the handbook were incorporated and later verified by them.
Findings of pretesting reveal that a majority of pregnant women have an understanding of the culturally relevant ANC handbook. The handbook was found to be practical by healthcare paraprofessionals and community workers for use in different tiers of the health care system in Pakistan. The ANC handbook can be applied in the health service sector of Pakistan and can be adopted with relevant cultural modifications by countries with a similar context.
PMCID: PMC3076271  PMID: 21450064
13.  Are women and providers satisfied with antenatal care? Views on a standard and a simplified, evidence-based model of care in four developing countries 
BMC Women's Health  2002;2:7.
This study assessed women and providers' satisfaction with a new evidence-based antenatal care (ANC) model within the WHO randomized trial conducted in four developing countries. The WHO study was a randomized controlled trial that compared a new ANC model with the standard type offered in each country. The new model of ANC emphasized actions known to be effective in improving maternal or neonatal health, excluded other interventions that have not proved to be beneficial, and improved the information component, especially alerting pregnant women to potential health problems and instructing them on appropriate responses. These activities were distributed within four antenatal care visits for women that did not need any further assessment.
Satisfaction was measured through a standardized questionnaire administered to a random sample of 1,600 pregnant women and another to all antenatal care providers.
Most women in both arms expressed satisfaction with ANC. More women in the intervention arm were satisfied with information on labor, delivery, family planning, pregnancy complications and emergency procedures. More providers in the experimental clinics were worried about visit spacing, but more satisfied with the time spent and information provided.
Women and providers accepted the new ANC model generally. The safety of fewer visits for women without complications with longer spacing would have to be reinforced, if such a model is to be introduced into routine practice.
PMCID: PMC122068  PMID: 12133195
14.  Antenatal care in The Gambia: Missed opportunity for information, education and communication 
Antenatal care is widely established and provides an opportunity to inform and educate pregnant women about pregnancy, childbirth and care of the newborn. It is expected that this would assist the women in making choices that would contribute to good pregnancy outcome. We examined the provision of information and education in antenatal clinics from the perspective of pregnant women attending these clinics.
A cross sectional survey of 457 pregnant women attending six urban and six rural antenatal clinics in the largest health division in The Gambia was undertaken. The women were interviewed using modified antenatal client exit interview and antenatal record review questionnaires from the WHO Safe Motherhood Needs Assessment kit. Differences between women attending urban and rural clinics were assessed using the Chi-square test. Relative risks with 95% confidence intervals are presented.
Ninety percent of those interviewed had attended the antenatal clinic more than once and 52% four or more times. Most pregnant women (70.5%) said they spent 3 minutes or less with the antenatal care provider. About 35% recalled they were informed or educated on diet and nutrition, 30.4% on care of the baby, 23.6% on family planning, 22.8% on place of birth and 19.3% on what to do if there was a complication.
About 25% of pregnant women said they were given information about the progress of their pregnancy after consultation and only 12.8% asked their provider any question. Awareness of danger signs was low. The proportions of women that recognised signs of danger were 28.9% for anaemia, 24.6% for hypertension, 14.8% for haemorrhage, 12.9% for fever and 5% for puerperal sepsis. Prolonged labour was not recognised as a danger sign. Women attending rural antenatal clinics were 1.6 times more likely to recognise signs of anaemia and hypertension as indicative of danger compared to women attending urban antenatal clinics.
Information, education and communication during antenatal care in the largest health division are poor. Pregnant women are ill-equipped to make appropriate choices especially when they are in danger. This contributes to the persistence of high maternal mortality ratios in the country.
PMCID: PMC2322944  PMID: 18325122
15.  Access and barriers to measures targeted to prevent malaria in pregnancy in rural Kenya* 
To evaluate barriers preventing pregnant women from using insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and intermittent presumptive treatment (IPT) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) 5 years after the launch of the national malaria strategy promoting these measures in Kenya.
All women aged 15–49 years were interviewed during a community survey in four districts between December 2006 and January 2007. Women pregnant in the last 12 months were asked about their age, parity, education, use of nets, ITN, antenatal care (ANC) services and sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) (overall and for IPT) during pregnancy. Homestead assets were recorded and used to develop a wealth index. Travel time to ANC clinics was computed using a geographic information system algorithm. Predictors of net and IPT use were defined using multivariate logistic regression.
Overall 68% of pregnant women used a net; 52% used an ITN; 84% attended an ANC clinic at least once and 74% at least twice. Fifty-three percent of women took at least one dose of IPT-SP, however only 22% took two or more doses. Women from the least poor homesteads (OR = 2.53, 1.36–4.68) and those who used IPT services (OR = 1.73, 1.24–2.42) were more likely to sleep under any net. Women who used IPT were more likely to use ITNs (OR = 1.35, 1.03–1.77), while those who lived more than an hour from an ANC clinic were less likely (OR = 0.61, 0.46–0.81) to use ITN. Women with formal education (1.47, 1.01–2.17) and those who used ITN (OR: 1.68, 1.20–2.36) were more likely to have received at least one dose of IPT-SP.
Although the use of ITN had increased 10-fold and the use of IPT fourfold since last measured in 2001, coverage remains low. Provider practices in the delivery of protective measures against malaria must change, supported by community awareness campaigns on the importance of mothers’ use of IPT.
PMCID: PMC2607535  PMID: 18304267
malaria; pregnancy; antenatal care; intermittent presumptive treatment; sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine; insecticide-treated nets; Kenya
16.  Factors associated with antenatal care adequacy in rural and urban contexts-results from two health and demographic surveillance sites in Vietnam 
Antenatal Care (ANC) is universally considered important for women and children. This study aims to identify factors, demographic, social and economic, possibly associated with three ANC indicators: number of visits, timing of visits and content of services. The aim is also to compare the patterns of association of such factors between one rural and one urban context in northern Vietnam.
Totally 2,132 pregnant women were followed from identification of pregnancy until birth in two Health and Demographic Surveillance Sites (HDSS). Information was obtained through quarterly face to face interviews.
Living in the rural area was significantly associated with lower adequate use of ANC compared to living in the urban area, both regarding quantity (number and timing of visits) and content. Low education, living in poor households and exclusively using private sector ANC in both sites and self employment, becoming pregnant before 25 years of age and living in poor communities in the rural area turned out to increase the risk for overall inadequate ANC. High risk pregnancy could not be demonstrated to be associated with ANC adequacy in either site. The medical content of services offered was often inadequate, in relation to the national recommendations, especially in the private sector.
Low education, low economic status, exclusive use of private ANC and living in rural areas were main factors associated with risk for overall inadequate ANC use as related to the national recommendations. Therefore, interventions focussing on poor and less educated women, especially in rural areas should be prioritized. They should focus the importance of early attendance of ANC and sufficient use of core services. Financial support for poor and near poor women should be considered. Providers of ANC should be educated and otherwise influenced to provide sufficient core services. Adherence to ANC content guidelines must be improved through enhanced supervision, particularly in the private sector.
PMCID: PMC3305637  PMID: 22335834
Antenatal care; Socio-economic determinants; Adequacy; Urban and rural; Vietnam
17.  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
18.  Comparison of HIV prevalence estimates from antenatal care surveillance and population-based surveys in sub-Saharan Africa 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2008;84(Suppl_1):i78-i84.
To compare HIV seroprevalence estimates obtained from antenatal care (ANC) sentinel surveillance surveys in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda with those from population-based demographic and health surveys (DHS) and AIDS indicator surveys (AIS).
Geographical information system methods were used to map ANC surveillance sites and DHS/AIS survey clusters within a 15-km radius of the ANC sites. National DHS/AIS HIV prevalence estimates for women and men were compared with national prevalence estimates from ANC surveillance. DHS/AIS HIV prevalence estimates for women and men residing within 15 km of ANC sites were compared with those from ANC surveillance. For women, these comparisons were also stratified by current pregnancy status, experience of recent childbirth and receiving ANC for the last birth.
In four of the five countries, national DHS/AIS estimates of HIV prevalence were lower than the ANC surveillance estimates. Comparing women and men in the catchment areas of the ANC sites, the DHS/AIS estimates were similar to ANC surveillance estimates. DHS/AIS estimates for men residing in the catchment areas of ANC sites were much lower than ANC surveillance estimates for women in all cases. ANC estimates were higher for younger women than DHS/AIS estimates for women in ANC catchment areas, but lower at older ages. In all cases, urban prevalence was higher than rural prevalence but there were no consistent patterns by education.
ANC surveillance surveys tend to overestimate HIV prevalence compared to prevalence among women in the general population in DHS/AIS surveys. However, the ANC and DHS/AIS estimates are similar when restricted to women and men, or to women only, residing in catchment areas of ANC sites. Patterns by age and urban/rural residence suggest possible bias in the ANC estimates.
PMCID: PMC2569136  PMID: 18647871
19.  Womens' opinions on antenatal care in developing countries: results of a study in Cuba, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Argentina 
BMC Public Health  2003;3:17.
The results of a qualitative study carried out in four developing countries (Cuba, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Argentina) are presented. The study was conducted in the context of a randomised controlled trial to test the benefits of a new antenatal care protocol that reduced the number of visits to the doctor, rationalised the application of technology, and improved the provision of information to women in relation to the traditional protocol applied in each country.
Through focus groups discussions we were able to assess the concepts and expectations underlying women's evaluation of concepts and experiences of the care received in antenatal care clinics. 164 women participated in 24 focus groups discussion in all countries.
Three areas are particularly addressed in this paper: a) concepts about pregnancy and health care, b) experience with health services and health providers, and c) opinions about the modified Antenatal Care (ANC) programme. In all three topics similarities were identified as well as particular opinions related to country specific social and cultural values. In general women have a positive view of the new ANC protocol, particularly regarding the information they receive. However, controversial issues emerged such as the reduction in the number of visits, particularly in Cuba where women are used to have 18 ANC visits in one pregnancy period.
Recommendations to improve ANC services performance are being proposed. Any country interested in the application of a new ANC protocol should regard the opinion and acceptability of women towards changes.
PMCID: PMC166129  PMID: 12756055
Antenatal care; users' opinions; qualitative data; developing countries
20.  The combined effect of determinants on coverage of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria during pregnancy in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania 
Malaria Journal  2011;10:140.
Intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy (IPTp) at routine antenatal care (ANC) clinics is an important and efficacious intervention to reduce adverse health outcomes of malaria infections during pregnancy. However, coverage for the recommended two IPTp doses is still far below the 80% target in Tanzania. This paper investigates the combined impact of pregnant women's timing of ANC attendance, health workers' IPTp delivery and different delivery schedules of national IPTp guidelines on IPTp coverage.
Data on pregnant women's ANC attendance and health workers' IPTp delivery were collected from ANC card records during structured exit interviews with ANC attendees and through semi-structured interviews with health workers in south-eastern Tanzania. Women's timing of ANC visits and health worker's timing of IPTp delivery were analyzed in relation to the different national IPTp schedules and the outcome on IPTp coverage was modelled.
Among all women eligible for IPTp, 79% received a first dose of IPTp and 27% were given a second dose. Although pregnant women initiated ANC attendance late, their timing was in line with the national guidelines recommending IPTp delivery between 20-24 weeks and 28-32 weeks of gestation. Only 15% of the women delayed to the extent of being too late to be eligible for a first dose of IPTp. Less than 1% of women started ANC attendance after 32 weeks of gestation. During the second IPTp delivery period health workers delivered IPTp to significantly less women than during the first one (55% vs. 73%) contributing to low second dose coverage. Simplified IPTp guidelines for front-line health workers as recommended by WHO could lead to a 20 percentage point increase in IPTp coverage.
This study suggests that facility and policy factors are greater barriers to IPTp coverage than women's timing of ANC attendance. To maximize the benefit of the IPTp intervention, revision of existing guidelines is needed. Training on simplified IPTp messages should be consolidated as part of the extended antenatal care training to change health workers' delivery practices and increase IPTp coverage. Pregnant women's knowledge about IPTp and the risks of malaria during pregnancy should be enhanced as well as their ability and power to demand IPTp and other ANC services.
PMCID: PMC3126755  PMID: 21599999
21.  Is 'Opt-Out HIV Testing' a real option among pregnant women in rural districts in Kenya? 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:151.
An 'opt-out' policy of routine HIV counseling and testing (HCT) is being implemented across sub-Saharan Africa to expand prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). Although the underlying assumption is that pregnant women in rural Africa are able to voluntarily consent to HIV testing, little is known about the reality and whether 'opt-out' HCT leads to higher completion rates of PMTCT. Factors associated with consent to HIV testing under the 'opt-out' approach were investigated through a large cross-sectional study in Kenya.
Observations during HIV pre-test information sessions were followed by a cross-sectional survey of 900 pregnant women in three public district hospitals carrying out PMTCT in the Busia district. Women on their first antenatal care (ANC) visit during the current pregnancy were interviewed after giving blood for HIV testing but before learning their test results. Descriptive statistics and multivariate regression analysis were performed.
Of the 900 women participating, 97% tested for HIV. Lack of testing kits was the only reason for women not being tested, i.e. nobody declined HIV testing. Despite the fact that 96% had more than four earlier pregnancies and 37% had been tested for HIV at ANC previously, only 17% of the women surveyed knew that testing was optional. Only 20% of those surveyed felt they could make an informed decision to decline HIV testing. Making an informed decision to decline HIV testing was associated with knowing that testing was optional (OR = 5.44, 95%CI 3.44-8.59), not having a stable relationship with the child's father (OR = 1.76, 95%CI 1.02-3.03), and not having discussed HIV testing with a partner before the ANC visit (OR = 2.64 95%CI 1.79-3.86).
High coverage of HIV testing appears to be achieved at the cost of pregnant women not understanding that testing is optional. Good quality HIV pre-test information is central to ensure that pregnant women understand and accept the reasons for testing and will thus come back to collect their test results, an important prerequisite for completing PMTCT for those who test HIV-positive.
PMCID: PMC3061915  PMID: 21385423
22.  Delivering at home or in a health facility? health-seeking behaviour of women and the role of traditional birth attendants in Tanzania 
Traditional birth attendants retain an important role in reproductive and maternal health in Tanzania. The Tanzanian Government promotes TBAs in order to provide maternal and neonatal health counselling and initiating timely referral, however, their role officially does not include delivery attendance. Yet, experience illustrates that most TBAs still often handle complicated deliveries. Therefore, the objectives of this research were to describe (1) women’s health-seeking behaviour and experiences regarding their use of antenatal (ANC) and postnatal care (PNC); (2) their rationale behind the choice of place and delivery; and to learn (3) about the use of traditional practices and resources applied by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and how they can be linked to the bio-medical health system.
Qualitative and quantitative interviews were conducted with over 270 individuals in Masasi District, Mtwara Region and Ilala Municipality, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The results from the urban site show that significant achievements have been made in terms of promoting pregnancy- and delivery-related services through skilled health workers. Pregnant women have a high level of awareness and clearly prefer to deliver at a health facility. The scenario is different in the rural site (Masasi District), where an adequately trained health workforce and well-equipped health facilities are not yet a reality, resulting in home deliveries with the assistance of either a TBA or a relative.
Instead of focusing on the traditional sector, it is argued that more attention should be paid towards (1) improving access to as well as strengthening the health system to guarantee delivery by skilled health personnel; and (2) bridging the gaps between communities and the formal health sector through community-based counselling and health education, which is provided by well-trained and supervised village health workers who inform villagers about promotive and preventive health services, including maternal and neonatal health.
PMCID: PMC3599352  PMID: 23448583
Maternal health; Traditional birth attendants; Health facility delivery; Pregnancy; Tanzania
23.  A comparison between antenatal care quality in public and private sector in rural Hebei, China 
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(2):146-156.
To evaluate the quality of antenatal care (ANC) in Hebei Province and compare it between the public and private sector and within the public sector.
We conducted a Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Household Survey in 2010 using a two-stage sampling procedure and included 1079 mothers. The quality of ANC was assessed on the basis of the number of ANC visits, the time of the first ANC visit, 16 different ANC procedures, owning a maternal health care booklet, and the type of service provider.
Almost all women (98%) received ANC services at least once, 80% at least four times, and 54% at least five times. About half of the women (46%) visited ANC facility within their first trimester. Neither public nor private sector provided all 16 standardized services, but significantly more women in public sector received ANC procedures. Most women received ANC in county or higher-level hospitals (75%) and very few in township hospitals (8%). Significantly fewer women were weighed and tested for HIV/AIDS in township than in county or higher-level hospitals.
The quality of ANC in Hebei was poorer than required by China’s national and World Health Organization norms. Although the public sector performed better than the private sector, the utilization and quality of care of ANC services in this sector varied and women generally visited county or higher-level health facilities.
PMCID: PMC3641873  PMID: 23630142
24.  Determinants of antenatal and delivery care utilization in Tigray region, Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study 
Despite the international emphasis in the last few years on the need to address the unmet health needs of pregnant women and children, progress in reducing maternal mortality has been slow. This is particularly worrying in sub-Saharan Africa where over 162,000 women still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth, most of them because of the lack of access to skilled delivery attendance and emergency care. With a maternal mortality ratio of 673 per 100,000 live births and 19,000 maternal deaths annually, Ethiopia is a major contributor to the worldwide death toll of mothers. While some studies have looked at different risk factors for antenatal care (ANC) and delivery service utilisation in the country, information coming from community-based studies related to the Health Extension Programme (HEP) in rural areas is limited. This study aims to determine the prevalence of maternal health care utilisation and explore its determinants among rural women aged 15–49 years in Tigray, Ethiopia.
The study was a community-based cross-sectional survey using a structured questionnaire. A cluster sampling technique was used to select women who had given birth at least once in the five years prior to the survey period. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were carried out to elicit the impact of each factor on ANC and institutional delivery service utilisation.
The response rate was 99% (n=1113). The mean age of the participants was 30.4 years. The proportion of women who received ANC for their recent births was 54%; only 46 (4.1%) of women gave birth at a health facility. Factors associated with ANC utilisation were marital status, education, proximity of health facility to the village, and husband’s occupation, while use of institutional delivery was mainly associated with parity, education, having received ANC advice, a history of difficult/prolonged labour, and husbands’ occupation.
A relatively acceptable utilisation of ANC services but extremely low institutional delivery was observed. Classical socio-demographic factors were associated with both ANC and institutional delivery attendance. ANC advice can contribute to increase institutional delivery use. Different aspects of HEP need to be strengthened to improve maternal health in Tigray.
PMCID: PMC3658893  PMID: 23672203
25.  Participation of traditional birth attendants in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services in two rural districts in Zimbabwe: a feasibility study 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:401.
Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is among the key HIV prevention strategies in Zimbabwe. A decrease in use of antenatal care (ANC) services with an increase in home deliveries is affecting the coverage of PMTCT interventions in a context of accelerated economic crisis. The main objective was to evaluate acceptability and feasibility of reinforcing the role of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in family and child health services through their participation in PMTCT programmes in Zimbabwe.
A community based cross-sectional survey was undertaken using multistage cluster sampling in two rural districts through interviews and focus group discussions among women who delivered at home with a TBA, those who had an institutional delivery and TBAs.
45% of TBAs interviewed knew the principles of PMTCT and 8% delivered a woman with known HIV-positive status in previous year. Of the complete package of PMTCT services, more than 75% of TBAs agreed to participate in most activities with the exception of performing a blood test (17%), accompanying new-borns to closest health centre to receive medication (15%) and assisting health centres in documentation of the link ANC-PMTCT services (18%). Women who delivered at home were less likely to have received more than one ANC service or have had contact with a health centre compared to women who delivered in a health centre (91.0% vs 72.6%; P < 0.001). Also, 63.6% of the women who delivered in a health centre had the opportunity to choose the place of delivery compared to 39.4% of women who delivered at home (P < 0.001). More than 85% of women agreed that TBAs could participate in all activities related to a PMTCT programme with the exception of performing a blood test for HIV. Concerns were highlighted regarding confidentiality of the HIV-serostatus of women.
Although the long-term goal of ANC service delivery in Zimbabwe remains the provision of skilled delivery attendance, PMTCT programmes will benefit from complementary approaches to prevent missed opportunities. TBAs are willing to expand their scope of work regarding activities related to PMTCT. There is a need to reinforce their knowledge on MTCT prevention measures and better integrate them into the health system.
PMCID: PMC2612666  PMID: 19061506

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