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1.  Prevalence and risk factors for non-use of antenatal care visits: analysis of the 2010 South Sudan household survey 
Antenatal care (ANC) is a preventive public health intervention to ensure healthy pregnancy outcomes and improve survival and health of newborns. In South Sudan, about 40% of pregnant women use ANC, however, the frequency of the ANC checks falls short of the recommended four visits. Hence, this study examined potential risk factors associated with non-use of ANC in South Sudan.
Data for this analysis was from the 2010 South Sudan Household Survey second round, which was a nationally representative stratified cluster sample survey. The study included information from 3504 women aged 15–49 years who had given birth within two years preceding the survey. Non-use of ANC was examined against sixteen potential risk factors, using simple and multiple logistic regression analyses adjusted for cluster sampling survey design.
The prevalence of non-use of ANC was 58% [95% confidence interval (CI): (55.7, 59.8)], the prevalence of 1–3 ANC visits was 24% [95% CI: (22.7, 26.7)] and that for 4 or more visits was 18% [95% CI: (16.3, 19.3)]. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, geographic regions, polygamy status [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.23; 95% CI: (1.00, 1.51), p = 0.047 for a husband with more than one wife], mother’s literacy [AOR = 1.79; 95% CI: (1.31, 2.45), p = 0.001 for illiterate mothers], and knowledge on a newborns’ danger signs [AOR = 1.77; 95% CI (1.03, 3.05), p = 0.040 for mothers who had limited knowledge of a newborns’ danger signs] were significantly associated with non-use of ANC.
Overall improvement of women’s access to the recommended number of ANC visits is needed in South Sudan. Strategies to encourage Southern Sudanese women to pursue education as well as to raise awareness about the importance of ANC services are essential. It is also important to prioritize strategies to increase access to health care services in rural areas as well as developing strategies to reduce the financial burden associated with maternal health services.
PMCID: PMC4396873  PMID: 25885187
Antenatal care; Pregnancy complications; Socioeconomic factors; Mortality; South Sudan
2.  Factors Affecting Attendance at and Timing of Formal Antenatal Care: Results from a Qualitative Study in Madang, Papua New Guinea 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e93025.
Appropriate antenatal care (ANC) is key for the health of mother and child. However, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), only a third of women receive any ANC during pregnancy. Drawing on qualitative research, this paper explores the influences on ANC attendance and timing of first visit in the Madang region of Papua New Guinea.
Data were collected in three sites utilizing several qualitative methods: free-listing and sorting of terms and definitions, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, observation in health care facilities and case studies of pregnant women. Respondents included pregnant women, their relatives, biomedical and traditional health providers, opinion leaders and community members.
Although generally reported to be important, respondents’ understanding of the procedures involved in ANC was limited. Factors influencing attendance fell into three main categories: accessibility, attitudes to ANC, and interpersonal issues. Although women saw accessibility (distance and cost) as a barrier, those who lived close to health facilities and could easily afford ANC also demonstrated poor attendance. Attitudes were shaped by previous experiences of ANC, such as waiting times, quality of care, and perceptions of preventative care and medical interventions during pregnancy. Interpersonal factors included relationships with healthcare providers, pregnancy disclosure, and family conflict. A desire to avoid repeat clinic visits, ideas about the strength of the fetus and parity were particularly relevant to the timing of first ANC visit.
This long-term in-depth study (the first of its kind in Madang, PNG) shows how socio-cultural and economic factors influence ANC attendance. These factors must be addressed to encourage timely ANC visits: interventions could focus on ANC delivery in health facilities, for example, by addressing healthcare staff’s attitudes towards pregnant women.
PMCID: PMC4026245  PMID: 24842484
3.  Attendance and Utilization of Antenatal Care (ANC) Services: Multi-Center Study in Upcountry Areas of Uganda 
Globally every year 529,000 maternal deaths occur, 99% of this in developing countries. Uganda has high maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality ratios, typical of many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent findings reveal maternal mortality ratio of 435:100,000 live births and neonatal mortality rate of 29 deaths per 1000 live births in Uganda; these still remain a challenge. Women in rural areas of Uganda are two times less likely to attend ANC than the urban women. Most women in Uganda have registered late ANC attendance, averagely at 5.5 months of pregnancy and do not complete the required four visits. The inadequate utilization of ANC is greatly contributing to persisting high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality in Uganda. This study was set to identify the factors associated with late booking and inadequate utilization of Antenatal Care services in upcountry areas of Uganda.
Cross-sectional study design with mixed methods of interviewer administered questionnaires, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Data was entered using Epidata and analyzed using Stata into frequency tables using actual tallies and percentages. Ethical approval was sought from SOM-REC MakCHS under approval number “#REC REF 2012-117” before conducting the study.
A total of four hundred one were enrolled with the majority being in the age group 20 – 24 years (mean age, 25.87 ± 6.26). Health workers played a great role (72.04%), followed by the media (15.46%) and friends (12.50%) in creating awareness about ANC. A significant number of respondents went to TBAs with reasons such as “near and accessible”, “my husband decided”, and “they are the only people I know”. 37.63% of the respondents considered getting an antenatal Card as an importance of ANC. 71 (19.67%) respondents gave a wrong opinion (late) on booking time with reasons like demands at work, no problems during pregnancy, advised by friends, just to get a card, long distance and others didn’t know. Almost half of the respondents never knew the recommended number of visits. Religion, occupation, level of education, and parity were found to influence place of ANC attendance, number of ANC visits and booking time. Husbands were necessary to provide financial support, accompany their wives ANC clinic, and ensure that they complete the visits. But their response was poor due to: fear of routine investigations and constrained economically.
The study findings show the actual rural setting of ANC services attendance and utilization. Much sensitization has to be done specifically in these rural areas to empower pregnant women and their husbands as to improve ANC attendance and utilization.
PMCID: PMC4450446  PMID: 26042190
Antenatal Care; ANC; Utilization; Attendance
4.  The quality–coverage gap in antenatal care: toward better measurement of effective coverage 
The proportion of pregnant women receiving 4 or more antenatal care (ANC) visits has no necessary relationship with the actual content of those visits. We propose a simple alternative to measure program performance that aggregates key services that are common across countries and measured in Demographic and Health Surveys, such as blood pressure measurement, tetanus toxoid vaccination, first ANC visit before 4 months gestation, urine testing, counseling about pregnancy danger signs, and iron–folate supplementation.
The proportion of pregnant women receiving 4 or more antenatal care (ANC) visits has no necessary relationship with the actual content of those visits. We propose a simple alternative to measure program performance that aggregates key services that are common across countries and measured in Demographic and Health Surveys, such as blood pressure measurement, tetanus toxoid vaccination, first ANC visit before 4 months gestation, urine testing, counseling about pregnancy danger signs, and iron–folate supplementation.
The proportion of pregnant women receiving 4 or more antenatal care visits (ANC 4+) is used prominently as a global benchmark indicator to track maternal health program performance. This has contributed to an inappropriate focus on the number of contacts rather than on the content and process of care. This paper presents analysis of specific elements of care received among women reporting 4 or more ANC visits.
We conducted secondary analysis using Demographic and Health Survey data from 41 countries to determine coverage for specific elements of antenatal care. The analysis was conducted for: (1) women who delivered during the 2 years preceding the survey and who reported receiving 4 or more ANC visits, and (2) all women who delivered during the preceding 2 years. The specific ANC services that we assessed were: blood pressure measurement, tetanus toxoid vaccination, first ANC visit at less than 4 months gestation, urine testing, counseling about danger signs, HIV counseling and testing, iron–folate supplementation (≥ 90 days), and at least 2 doses of sulfadoxine/pyramethamine for malaria prevention. The difference between expected (100%) and actual coverage (the quality–coverage gap) was calculated for each service across the 41 surveys.
Coverage for specific elements of care among women reporting 4 or more ANC visits was generally low for most of the specific elements assessed. Blood pressure and tetanus toxoid performed best, with median quality–coverage gaps of 5% and 18%, respectively. The greatest gaps were for iron–folate supplementation (72%) and malaria prevention (86%). Coverage for specific interventions was generally much lower among all pregnant women (reflecting population effective coverage) than among only those who had received ANC 4+ visits. Although ANC 4+ and average coverage across the elements of care correlated relatively well (Pearson r2  =  0.56), most countries had lower average coverage for the content of care than for ANC 4+ (among all pregnant women).
We argue for the adoption of a summary indicator that better reflects the content of antenatal care than does the current ANC 4+ indicator. We propose, as an alternative, the simple average of a set of ANC content indicators available through surveys and routine health information systems.
PMCID: PMC4168625  PMID: 25276575
5.  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
6.  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
7.  Association of antenatal care with facility delivery and perinatal survival – a population-based study in Bangladesh 
Antenatal Care (ANC) during pregnancy can play an important role in the uptake of evidence-based services vital to the health of women and their infants. Studies report positive effects of ANC on use of facility-based delivery and perinatal mortality. However, most existing studies are limited to cross-sectional surveys with long recall periods, and generally do not include population-based samples.
This study was conducted within the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) in Matlab, Bangladesh. The HDSS area is divided into an icddr,b service area (SA) where women and children receive care from icddr,b health facilities, and a government SA where people receive care from government facilities. In 2007, a new Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MNCH) program was initiated in the icddr,b SA that strengthened the ongoing maternal and child health services including ANC. We estimated the association of ANC with facility delivery and perinatal mortality using prospectively collected data from 2005 to 2009. Using a before-after study design, we also determined the role of ANC services on reduction of perinatal mortality between the periods before (2005 – 2006) and after (2008–2009) implementation of the MNCH program.
Antenatal care visits were associated with increased facility-based delivery in the icddr,b and government SAs. In the icddr,b SA, the adjusted odds of perinatal mortality was about 2-times higher (odds ratio (OR) 1.91; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.50, 2.42) among women who received ≤1 ANC compared to women who received ≥3 ANC visits. No such association was observed in the government SA. Controlling for ANC visits substantially reduced the observed effect of the intervention on perinatal mortality (OR 0.64; 95% CI: 0.52, 0.78) to non-significance (OR 0.81; 95% CI: 0.65, 1.01), when comparing cohorts before and after the MNCH program initiation (Sobel test of mediation P < 0.001).
ANC visits are associated with increased uptake of facility-based delivery and improved perinatal survival in the icddr,b SA. Further testing of the icddr,b approach to simultaneously improving quality of ANC and facility delivery care is needed in the existing health system in Bangladesh and in other low-income countries to maximize health benefits to mothers and newborns.
PMCID: PMC3495045  PMID: 23066832
8.  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
9.  Inequalities in Use of Antenatal Care and Its ServiceComponents in India 
Objectives: This study was performed to evaluate the use of individual components of antenatal care (ANC) services by pregnant women across India in addition to counting of ANC visits and then analyze differences according to state, socioeconomic condition, and access to health care services.
Methods: The study used a nationally representative sample of 36,850 women from the National Family Health Survey (2005–2006) of India. Outcome measurements were medication, number of ANC visits, and components of ANC, including physical examination and measurements, laboratory examination, and advice about pregnancy. Differences in these outcomes according to 29 states, socioeconomic conditions, and access to health care services were examined. Independent associations between outcome measures and social and health care factors were analyzed.
Results: The percentages of women who used ANC at least once and four times or more were 81.5% (ranges by states: 38.0 –99.9%) and 46.1% (15.2–97.9%), respectively. Among those who used ANC four times or more, 86.4% (54.2–98.9%) received a blood examination, and 85.8% (70.3–96.3%) were advised to deliver in a hospital. Greater wealth (OR=3.38; 95%CI 2.58–4.42) and higher education level (OR=3.19; 95%CI 2.49–4.14) were associated with receiving a blood examination during ANC. Rural residence was negatively associated with using ANC four times or more (OR=0.64; 95%CI 0.59–0.67) and receiving a blood examination (OR=0.67; 95%CI 0.59–0.76). Those who received ANC at community health centers were less likely to receive a blood pressure examination, blood and urine examination, and advice to deliver in a hospital compared with those who received ANC at public hospitals.
Conclusion: This study showed substantial inequalities in use of ANC and service components of ANC received in India across geographic areas, socioeconomic conditions, and levels of access to health care services. In addition to reducing socioeconomic inequalities, it is necessary to provide quality services to those with limited access to health care services.
PMCID: PMC4310048  PMID: 25649920
India; antenatal care; inequality; quality of care; socioeconomic conditions; access to health care services
10.  Factors Associated with Four or More Antenatal Care Visits and Its Decline among Pregnant Women in Tanzania between 1999 and 2010 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101893.
In Tanzania, the coverage of four or more antenatal care (ANC 4) visits among pregnant women has declined over time. We conducted an exploratory analysis to identify factors associated with utilization of ANC 4 and ANC 4 decline among pregnant women over time. We used data from 8035 women who delivered within two years preceding Tanzania Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 1999, 2004/05 and 2010. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the association between all potential factors and utilization of ANC 4; and decline in ANC 4 over time. Factors positively associated with ANC 4 utilization were higher quality of services, testing and counseling for HIV during ANC, receiving two or more doses of SP (Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine)/Fansidar for preventing malaria during ANC and higher educational status of the woman. Negatively associated factors were residing in a zone other than Eastern zone, never married woman, reported long distance to health facility, first ANC visit after four months of pregnancy and woman's desire to avoid pregnancy. The factors significantly associated with decline in utilization of ANC 4 were: geographic zone and age of the woman at delivery. Strategies to increase ANC 4 utilization should focus on improvement in quality of care, geographic accessibility, early ANC initiation, and services that allow women to avoid pregnancy. The interconnected nature of the Tanzanian Health System is reflected in ANC 4 decline over time where introduction of new programs might have had unintended effects on existing programs. An in-depth assessment of the recent policy change towards Focused Antenatal Care and its implementation across different geographic zones, including its effect on the perception and understanding among women and performance and counseling by health providers can help explain the decline in ANC 4.
PMCID: PMC4103803  PMID: 25036291
11.  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
12.  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
13.  Barriers and facilitators to antenatal and delivery care in western Kenya: a qualitative study 
In western Kenya, maternal mortality is a major public health problem estimated at 730/100,000 live births, higher than the Kenyan national average of 488/100,000 women. Many women do not attend antenatal care (ANC) in the first trimester, half do not receive 4 ANC visits. A high proportion use traditional birth attendants (TBA) for delivery and 1 in five deliver unassisted. The present study was carried out to ascertain why women do not fully utilise health facility ANC and delivery services.
A qualitative study using 8 focus group discussions each consisting of 8–10 women, aged 15–49 years. Thematic analysis identified the main barriers and facilitators to health facility based ANC and delivery.
Attending health facility for ANC was viewed positively. Three elements of care were important; testing for disease including HIV, checking the position of the foetus, and receiving injections and / or medications. Receiving a bed net and obtaining a registration card were also valuable. Four barriers to attending a health facility for ANC were evident; attitudes of clinic staff, long clinic waiting times, HIV testing and cost, although not all women felt the cost was prohibitive being worth it for the health of the child. Most women preferred to deliver in a health facility due to better management of complications. However cost was a barrier, and a reason to visit a TBA because of flexible payment. Other barriers were unpredictable labour and transport, staff attitudes and husbands’ preference.
Our findings suggest that women in western Kenya are amenable to ANC and would be willing and even prefer to deliver in a healthcare facility, if it were affordable and accessible to them. However for this to happen there needs to be investment in health promotion, and transport, as well as reducing or removing all fees associated with antenatal and delivery care. Yet creating demand for service will need to go alongside investment in antenatal services at organisational, staffing and facility level in order to meet both current and future increase in demand.
PMCID: PMC4358726  PMID: 25886593
Qualitative; Antenatal care; Delivery care; Barriers; Facilitators; Western Kenya
14.  Determinants of maternal health care utilization in Holeta town, central Ethiopia 
In developing countries a large number of women are dying due to factors related to pregnancy and child birth. Implementing and assuring utilization of maternal health care services is potentially one of the most effective health interventions for preventing maternal morbidity and mortality. However, in Ethiopia the utilization of maternal health care is low.
A cross-sectional study was conducted from January 20 to February 20, 2012 in Holeta town, central Ethiopia, to assess the determinants of maternal health care utilization among women who had given birth in the past three years prior to the survey. Structured questionnaire and focus group discussion guides were used for data collection. Data were collected from a sample of 422 women in the town. Descriptive, bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted. Statistical tests were done at a level of significance of p < 0.05.
The study revealed that 87% of the women had at least one antenatal visit during their last pregnancy. Among the antenatal service users, 33.7% had less than four antenatal visits. More than half of the antenatal care (ANC) attendants made their first visit during their second and third trimester of pregnancy although WHO recommended ANC should be started at the first trimester of the pregnancy. There was a significant association (P<0.05) between ANC attendance and some demographic, socio-economic and health related factors (age at last birth, literacy status of women, average monthly family income, media exposure, attitude towards pregnancy, knowledge on danger signs of pregnancy and presence of husband approval on ANC). The study also revealed that about 61.6% of the women had given birth in the health institutions. Parity, literacy status of women, average monthly family income, media exposure, decision where to give birth, perception of distance to health institutions (HI) and ANC attendance were found to be significantly associated (P<0.05) with delivery care (DC) attendance.
The utilization of ANC and DC service is inadequate in the town. The utilization of ANC and DC were influenced by demographic, socio-economic and health related factors. Improving the status of women by expanding educational opportunities, strengthening promotion of antenatal and delivery care by enhancing community awareness about the importance of ANC and DC are recommended.
PMCID: PMC3710264  PMID: 23822155
Antenatal care; Delivery care; Holeta town; Ethiopia
15.  Factors Affecting Antenatal Care Attendance: Results from Qualitative Studies in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53747.
Antenatal care (ANC) is a key strategy to improve maternal and infant health. However, survey data from sub-Saharan Africa indicate that women often only initiate ANC after the first trimester and do not achieve the recommended number of ANC visits. Drawing on qualitative data, this article comparatively explores the factors that influence ANC attendance across four sub-Saharan African sites in three countries (Ghana, Kenya and Malawi) with varying levels of ANC attendance.
Data were collected as part of a programme of qualitative research investigating the social and cultural context of malaria in pregnancy. A range of methods was employed interviews, focus groups with diverse respondents and observations in local communities and health facilities.
Across the sites, women attended ANC at least once. However, their descriptions of ANC were often vague. General ideas about pregnancy care – checking the foetus’ position or monitoring its progress – motivated women to attend ANC; as did, especially in Kenya, obtaining the ANC card to avoid reprimands from health workers. Women’s timing of ANC initiation was influenced by reproductive concerns and pregnancy uncertainties, particularly during the first trimester, and how ANC services responded to this uncertainty; age, parity and the associated implications for pregnancy disclosure; interactions with healthcare workers, particularly messages about timing of ANC; and the cost of ANC, including charges levied for ANC procedures – in spite of policies of free ANC – combined with ideas about the compulsory nature of follow-up appointments.
In these socially and culturally diverse sites, the findings suggest that ‘supply’ side factors have an important influence on ANC attendance: the design of ANC and particularly how ANC deals with the needs and concerns of women during the first trimester has implications for timing of initiation.
PMCID: PMC3546008  PMID: 23335973
16.  Determinants of maternal health services utilization in urban settings of the Democratic Republic of Congo – A Case study of Lubumbashi City 
The use of maternal health services, known as an indirect indicator of perinatal death, is still unknown in Lubumbashi. The present study was therefore undertaken in order to determine the factors that influence the use of mother and child healthcare services in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This was transversal study of women residing in Lubumbashi who had delivered between January and December 2009. In total, 1762 women were sampled from households using indicator cluster surveys in all health zones. Antenatal consultations (ANC), delivery assisted by qualified healthcare personnel (and delivery in a healthcare facility) as well as postnatal consultations (PNC) were dependent variables of study. The factors determining non-use of maternal healthcare services were researched via logistic regression with a 5% materiality threshold.
The use of maternal healthcare services was variable; 92.6% of women had attended ANC at least once, 93.8% of women had delivered at a healthcare facility, 97.2% had delivered in the presence of qualified healthcare personnel, while the rate of caesarean section was 4.5%. Only 34.6% postnatal women had attended PNC by 42 days after delivery. During these ANC visits, only 60.6% received at least one dose of vaccine, while 38.1% received Mebendazole, 35.6% iron, 32.7% at least one dose of SulfadoxinePyrimethamine, 29.2% folic acid, 15.5% screening for HIV and 12.8% an insecticide treated net.
In comparison to women that had had two or three deliveries before, primiparous and grand multiparous women were twice as likely not to use ANC during their pregnancy. Women who had unplanned pregnancies were also more likely not to use ANC or PNC than those who had planned pregnancies alone or with their partner. The women who had not used ANC were also more likely not to use PNC. The women who had had a trouble-free delivery were more likely not to use PNC than those who had complications when delivering.
In Lubumbashi, a significant proportion of women continue not to make use of healthcare services during pregnancy, as well as during and after childbirth. Women giving birth for the first time, those who have already given birth many times, and women with an unwanted pregnancy, made less use of ANC. Moreover, women who had not gone for ANC rarely came back for postnatal consultations, even if they had given birth at a healthcare facility. Similarly, those who gave birth without complications, less frequently made use of postnatal consultations. As with ANCs, women with unwanted pregnancies rarely went for postnatal visits.
In addition to measures aimed at reinforcing women’s autonomy, efforts are also needed to reinforce and improve the information given to women of childbearing age, as well as communication between the healthcare system and the community, and participation from the community, since this will contribute to raising awareness of safe motherhood and the use of such services, including family planning.
PMCID: PMC3449182  PMID: 22780957
17.  A new strategy and its effect on adherence to intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy in Uganda 
Few women in Uganda access intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). Previous studies have shown that high costs, frequent stock-out of drugs, supplies and poor quality of care are the greatest hindrance for women to access health services. In order to increase adherence to IPTp, we conceptualised an intervention that offset delivery care costs through providing a mama kit, created awareness on health benefits of IPTp and built trust between the provider and the client.
The new strategy was conceived along four constructs namely: 1) creating awareness by training midwives to explain the benefits of SP and the importance of adhering to the two doses of SP as IPTp to all pregnant women who attended ANC and consented to the study. Midwives were trained for two days in customer care and to provide a friendly environment. The pregnant women were also informed of the benefits of attending ANC and delivering at health facilities. 2) Each woman was promised a mama kit during ANC; 3) trust was built by showing the mama kit to each woman and branding it with her name; 4) keeping the promise by providing the mama kit when women came to deliver. The strategy to increase adherence to two doses of SP and encourage women to deliver at health facilities was implemented at two health facilities in Mukono district (Kawolo hospital and Mukono health centre IV). The inclusion criteria were women who: i) consented to the study and ii) were in the second trimester of pregnancy. All pregnant women in the second trimester (4-6 months gestation) who attended ANC and consented to participate in the study were informed of the benefits of SP, the importance of delivering at health facilities, were advised to attend the scheduled visits, promised a mama kit and ensured the kit was available at delivery. The primary outcome was the proportion of pregnant women adhering to a two dose SP regimen.
A total of 2,276 women received the first dose of SP and 1,656 (72.8%) came back for the second dose. 1,069 women were involved in the evaluation (384 had participated in the intervention while 685 had not). The main reasons that enabled those who participated in the intervention to adhere to the two doses of IPTp and deliver at the study facilities were: an explanation provided on the benefits of IPTp and delivering at health facilities (25.1%), availability of a mama kit at delivery (24.6%), kind midwives (19.8%) and fearing complications of pregnancy (8.5%). Overall, 78.0% of these women reported that they were influenced to adhere to IPTp by the intervention. In a multivariable regression, nearby facility, P = 0. 007, promising a mama kit, P = 0.002, kind midwives, P = 0.0001 and husbands’ encouragement, P = 0.0001 were the significant factors influencing adherence to IPTp with SP.
The new strategy was a good incentive for women to attend scheduled ANC visits, adhere to IPTp and deliver at the study facilities. Policy implications include the urgent need for developing a motivation package based on the Health-Trust Model to increase access and adherence to IPTp.
PMCID: PMC3849059  PMID: 24053142
Malaria in pregnancy; IPTp; Adherence; Mama kit; Health-Trust Model; Uganda
18.  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
19.  Global Estimates of Syphilis in Pregnancy and Associated Adverse Outcomes: Analysis of Multinational Antenatal Surveillance Data 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(2):e1001396.
Using multinational surveillance data, Lori Newman and colleagues estimate global rates of active syphilis in pregnant women, adverse effects, and antenatal coverage and treatment needed to meet WHO goals.
The World Health Organization initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of syphilis aims for ≥90% of pregnant women to be tested for syphilis and ≥90% to receive treatment by 2015. We calculated global and regional estimates of syphilis in pregnancy and associated adverse outcomes for 2008, as well as antenatal care (ANC) coverage for women with syphilis.
Methods and Findings
Estimates were based upon a health service delivery model. National syphilis seropositivity data from 97 of 193 countries and ANC coverage from 147 countries were obtained from World Health Organization databases. Proportions of adverse outcomes and effectiveness of screening and treatment were from published literature. Regional estimates of ANC syphilis testing and treatment were examined through sensitivity analysis. In 2008, approximately 1.36 million (range: 1.16 to 1.56 million) pregnant women globally were estimated to have probable active syphilis; of these, 80% had attended ANC. Globally, 520,905 (best case: 425,847; worst case: 615,963) adverse outcomes were estimated to be caused by maternal syphilis, including approximately 212,327 (174,938; 249,716) stillbirths (>28 wk) or early fetal deaths (22 to 28 wk), 91,764 (76,141; 107,397) neonatal deaths, 65,267 (56,929; 73,605) preterm or low birth weight infants, and 151,547 (117,848; 185,245) infected newborns. Approximately 66% of adverse outcomes occurred in ANC attendees who were not tested or were not treated for syphilis. In 2008, based on the middle case scenario, clinical services likely averted 26% of all adverse outcomes. Limitations include missing syphilis seropositivity data for many countries in Europe, the Mediterranean, and North America, and use of estimates for the proportion of syphilis that was “probable active,” and for testing and treatment coverage.
Syphilis continues to affect large numbers of pregnant women, causing substantial perinatal morbidity and mortality that could be prevented by early testing and treatment. In this analysis, most adverse outcomes occurred among women who attended ANC but were not tested or treated for syphilis, highlighting the need to improve the quality of ANC as well as ANC coverage. In addition, improved ANC data on syphilis testing coverage, positivity, and treatment are needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Syphilis—a sexually transmitted bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidum—can pass from a mother who is infected to her unborn child. Screening pregnant women for syphilis during routine antenatal care by looking for a reaction to T. pallidum in the blood (seropositivity) and then treating any detected infections with penicillin injections has been feasible for many years, even in low-resource settings. However, because coverage of testing and treatment of syphilis remains low in many countries, mother-to-child transmission of syphilis—“congenital syphilis”—is still a global public health problem. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there were 2 million syphilis infections among pregnant women annually, 65% of which resulted in adverse pregnancy outcomes: the baby's death during early or late pregnancy (fetal death and stillbirth, respectively) or soon after birth (neonatal death), or the birth of an infected baby. Babies born with syphilis often have a low birth weight and develop problems such as blindness, deafness, and seizures if not treated.
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2007, WHO launched an initiative to eliminate congenital syphilis that set targets of at least 90% of pregnant women being tested for syphilis and at least 90% of seropositive pregnant women receiving adequate treatment by 2015. To assess the initiative's progress and to guide policy and advocacy efforts, accurate global data on the burden of syphilis in pregnancy and on associated adverse outcomes are needed. Unfortunately, even in developed countries with good laboratory facilities, definitive diagnosis of congenital syphilis is difficult. Estimates of the global burden can be obtained, however, using mathematical models. In this study, the researchers generate global and regional estimates of the burden of syphilis in pregnancy and associated adverse outcomes for 2008 using a health services delivery model.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a mathematical model to estimate the number of syphilis-infected pregnant women in each country and in each region, and to estimate the regional and global numbers of adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with syphilis. They used national syphilis seropositivity data and information on antenatal care coverage from WHO and estimates of the effectiveness of screening and treatment from published literature. Using these data and their model, the researchers estimated that, in 2008, 1.4 million pregnant women, 80% of whom had attended antenatal care services, had an active syphilis infection. Assuming a scenario in which the percentage of pregnant women tested for syphilis and adequately treated ranged from 30% for Africa and the Mediterranean region to 70% for Europe (a scenario defined in consultation with WHO advisors), the researchers estimated that maternal syphilis caused 520,000 adverse outcomes in 2008, including 215,000 stillbirths or fetal deaths, 90,000 neonatal deaths, 65,000 preterm or low birth weight infants, and 150,000 infants with congenital disease. About 66% of these adverse effects occurred in women who had attended antenatal care but were either not tested or not treated for syphilis. Finally, the researchers estimated that in 2008, clinical services averted 26% of all adverse outcomes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings, which update and extend previous estimates of the global burden of congenital syphilis, indicate that syphilis continues to affect a large number of pregnant women and their offspring. The current findings, which cannot be directly compared to previous estimates because of the different methodologies used, are likely to be affected by the accuracy of the data fed into the researchers' model. In particular, the data on the percentage of the population infected with syphilis in individual countries used in this study came from the HIV Universal Access reporting system and may not be nationally representative. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that syphilis continues to be an important cause of adverse outcomes of pregnancy, partly because pregnant women often do not receive syphilis screening and prompt treatment during routine antenatal care. The researchers recommend, therefore, that all countries should ensure that all pregnant women receive an essential package of high-quality antenatal care services that includes routine and easy access to syphilis testing and treatment. Congenital syphilis, they conclude, can only be eliminated if decision-makers at all levels prioritize the provision, quality, and monitoring of this basic antenatal care service, which has the potential to reduce infant mortality and improve maternal health.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides information on sexually transmitted diseases, including details of its strategy for the global elimination of congenital syphilis, the investment case for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, and regional updates on progress towards elimination (some information is available in several languages)
The Pan American Health Organization provides information on efforts to eliminate congenital syphilis in Latin America (in English and Spanish), and the Asia-Pacific Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission Task Force provides information on efforts to eliminate congenital syphilis in Asia Pacific
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a fact sheet on syphilis (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website also has a page on syphilis
MedlinePlus provides information on congenital syphilis and links to additional syphilis resources (in English and Spanish)
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine provides a toolkit for the introduction of rapid syphilis tests
Haiti: Congenital Syphilis on the Way Out is a YouTube video describing the introduction of rapid diagnostic tests for syphilis in remote parts of Haiti
PMCID: PMC3582608  PMID: 23468598
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.  “You cannot know if it’s a baby or not a baby”: uptake, provision and perceptions of antenatal care and routine antenatal ultrasound scanning in rural Kenya 
Antenatal care early in pregnancy enables service providers to identify and manage risks to mother and fetus. In the global north, ultrasound scans are routinely offered in pregnancy to provide an accurate estimate of gestational age and identify potential problems. In sub-Saharan Africa, such services are rarely available and women often delay initiating antenatal care. This study describes the uptake and provision of antenatal care in a rural Kenyan hospital and explores how pregnant women and healthcare providers perceived the provision of ultrasound scanning, following its introduction in an international foetal growth study.
A descriptive study, using qualitative and quantitative methods, was conducted in Kilifi District Hospital, Kenya, between June 2011 and April 2012. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 nurses working in the antenatal clinic (ANC) and 59 pregnant women attending ANC. Structured observations of 357 ANC consultations and 30 ultrasound scans were made.
Women sought antenatal care for information about the health of their baby and the protection provided by the ANC services. Uncertainty about pregnancy status contributed to delay in ANC attendance; more than 78 % of women were over 20 weeks’ gestation at their first visit. Healthcare workers found it difficult to detect pregnancies below 16 weeks gestation and, accurate assessment of gestational age below 20 weeks’ gestation could be problematic. Provision of services depended on the pregnancy being detected and gestational age assessed. The “seeing”, made possible through ultrasound scanning was perceived by pregnant women and healthcare workers to be beneficial: confirming the pregnancy, and providing reassurance about the fetus’ condition. Few participants raised concerns about ultrasound scanning.
Uncertainty about pregnancy status and gestational age for women and healthcare providers is a key factor influencing timing of ANC attendance, contributing to delays and restricting early provision of ANC services. Ultrasound scanning was perceived to enhance antenatal care through confirmation of pregnancy status and enabling more accurate estimation of gestational age and the health status of the fetus. There is a need to make available more affordable means of pregnancy testing as a strategy towards encouraging early attendance, and delivery of antenatal care.
PMCID: PMC4446960  PMID: 26021564
Perceptions of antenatal care; Obstetric ultrasound scanning; Antenatal care timing; Gestational age; Confirmation of pregnancy; Sub-Saharan Africa
22.  Socio-Demographic Determinants of Maternal Health-Care Service Utilization Among Rural Women in Anambra State, South East Nigeria 
Although, antenatal care (ANC) attendance in sub Saharan Africa is high, however this does not always translate into quality ANC care service utilization.
This study therefore is aimed at exploring pattern of maternal health (MH) services utilization and the socio-demographic factors influencing it in Anambra State, South East Nigeria.
Subjects and Methods:
A total of 310 women of reproductive age with a previous history of gestation attending ANC services between September, 2007 and August, 2008 in selected Primary Health Centers in Anambra State were studied. Responses were elicited from the study participants using a pre-tested, semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17 (SPSS Inc, Chicago Illinois, USA). Association between socio-demographic characteristics and pattern of utilization of ANC and delivery services was measured using χ2-test, Regression analysis was done to identify factors associated with utilization of MH services. P < 0.05 was assumed to be significant.
Use of health facility was 293 (97.0%) and 277 (92,7%) out 302 women for ANC and delivery services respectively. Most women attended their first ANC consultation during the preceding pregnancy was after the first trimester and about 31% (94/298) of them had <4 ANC visits prior to delivery. Socio-demographic factors were found to be significantly associated with places where MH care services are accessed. Parity was found to be associated with timing of ANC booking and number of ANC attendance (χ2 = 9.49, P = 0.05). Odds of utilizing formal health facility for MH services were found to be significantly associated with increasing age (P < 0.01) and educational status of mothers (P < 0.001).
The study revealed high maternal service utilization and 10% fetal loss, hence the need to address the gaps of late ANC booking and low ANC visits.
PMCID: PMC4071737  PMID: 24971212
Antenatal care; Delivery; Determinants; Nigeria; Parity; Rural
23.  Sero-conversion rate of Syphilis and HIV among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in Tanzania: a need for re-screening at delivery 
Despite the available cost effective antenatal testing and treatment, syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are still among common infections affecting pregnant women especially in developing countries. In Tanzania, pregnant women are tested only once for syphilis and HIV during antenatal clinic (ANC) visits. Therefore, there are missed opportunities for syphilis and HIV screening among those who were not tested during ANC visits and those acquiring infections during the course of pregnancy. This study was designed to determine the syphilis and HIV seroprevalence at delivery and seroconversion rate among pregnant women delivering at Bugando Medical Centre (BMC).
A cross sectional, hospital-based study involving pregnant women attending Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) antenatal clinic was done from January to March 2012. Serum samples were collected and tested for HIV and syphilis using HIV and syphilis rapid tests. Demographic and clinical data were collected using a standardized data collection tool and analysed using STATA version 11.
A total of 331 and 408 women were screened for syphilis and HIV during antenatal respectively. Of 331 women who screened negative for syphilis at ANC, nine (2.7%) were seropositive at delivery while of 391who tested negative for HIV during ANC eight (2%) were found to be positive at delivery. Six (1.8%) and 23 (9%) of women who did not screen for syphilis and HIV at ANC were seropositive for syphilis and HIV at delivery respectively. There was significant difference of seroprevalence for HIV, among women who tested negative at ANC and those who did not test at ANC (2% vs.9%, P,<0.001). The overall prevalence of syphilis and HIV at delivery was 15 (2.3%) and 48 (7.2%) respectively. Syphilis seropositivity at delivery was significantly associated with HIV co-infection (p < 0.001), male partner circumcision (p = 0.011) and alcohol use among women (p < 0.001).
The current protocol of screening for syphilis and HIV only once during pregnancy as practiced in Tanzania may miss women who get re-infected and seroconvert during pregnancy. Re-screening for syphilis and HIV during the course of pregnancy and at delivery is recommended in Tanzania as it can help to identify such women and institute appropriate treatment.
PMCID: PMC4307991  PMID: 25613487
Syphilis; Treponema pallidum; Human immunodeficiency virus; Seroprevalence; Seroconversion; Sexually transmitted infection
24.  Use of antenatal care, maternity services, intermittent presumptive treatment and insecticide treated bed nets by pregnant women in Luwero district, Uganda 
Malaria Journal  2008;7:44.
To reduce the intolerable burden of malaria in pregnancy, the Ministry of Health in Uganda improved the antenatal care package by including a strong commitment to increase distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and introduction of intermittent preventive treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine for pregnant women (IPTp-SP) as a national policy in 2000. This study assessed uptake of both ITNs and IPTp-SP by pregnant women as well as antenatal and maternity care use with the aim of optimizing their delivery.
769 post-partum women were recruited from a rural area of central Uganda with perennial malaria transmission through a cross-sectional, community-based household survey in May 2005.
Of the 769 women interviewed, antenatal clinic (ANC) attendance was high (94.4%); 417 (57.7%) visiting initially during the 2nd trimester, 242 (33.5%) during the 3rd trimester and 266 (37.1%) reporting ≥ 4 ANC visits. About 537 (71%) and 272 (35.8%) received one or ≥ 2 IPTp-SP doses respectively. Only 85 (15.8%) received the first dose of IPTp-SP in the 3rd trimester. ITNs were used by 239 (31.3%) of women during pregnancy and 314 (40.8%) delivered their most recent pregnancy outside a health facility. Post-partum women who lacked post-primary education were more likely not to have attended four or more ANC visits (odds ratio [OR] 3.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–9.3).
These findings illustrate the need to strengthen capacity of the district to further improve antenatal care and maternity services utilization and IPTp-SP uptake. More specific and effective community health strategies to improve effective ANC, maternity services utilization and IPTp-SP uptake in rural communities should be undertaken.
PMCID: PMC2292202  PMID: 18312682
25.  Barriers to antenatal care use in Nigeria: evidences from non-users and implications for maternal health programming 
In Nigeria, over one third of pregnant women do not attend Antenatal Care (ANC) service during pregnancy. This study evaluated barriers to the use of ANC services in Nigeria from the perspective of non-users.
Records of the 2199 (34.9%) respondents who did not use ANC among the 6299 women of childbearing age who had at least one child within five years preceding the 2012 National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS Plus II), were used for this analysis. The barriers reported for not visiting any ANC provider were assessed vis-à-vis respondents’ social demographic characteristics, using multiple response data analysis techniques and Pearson chi-square test at 5% significance level.
Of the mothers who did not use ANC during five years preceding the survey, rural dwellers were the majority (82.5%) and 57.3% had no formal education. Most non-users (96.5%) were employed while 93.0% were currently married. North East with 51.5% was the geographical zone with highest number of non-users compared with 14.3% from the South East. Some respondents with higher education (2.0%) and also in the wealthiest quintiles (4.2%) did not use ANC. The reasons for non-use of ANC varied significantly with respondents’ wealth status, educational attainment, residence, geographical locations, age and marital status. Over half (56.4%) of the non-users reported having a problem with getting money to use ANC services while 44.1% claimed they did not attend ANC due to unavailability of transport facilities. The three leading problems: “getting money to go”, “Farness of ANC service providers” and “unavailability of transport” constituted 44.3% of all barriers. Elimination of these three problems could increase ANC coverage in Nigeria by over 15%.
Non-use of ANC was commonest among the poor, rural, currently married, less educated respondents from Northern Nigeria especially the North East zone. Affordability, availability and accessibility of ANC providers are the hurdles to ANC utilization in Nigeria. Addressing financial and other barriers to ANC use, quality improvement of ANC services to increase women’s satisfaction and utilization and ensuring maximal contacts among women, society, and ANC providers are surest ways to increasing ANC coverage in Nigeria.
PMCID: PMC4407543  PMID: 25885481
Antenatal care; Nigeria; Wealth; Education; Barriers to health care utilization

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