PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (1321274)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Couples’ reports of household decision-making and the utilization of maternal health services in Bangladesh 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2012;75(12):2403-2411.
This study examines the association between maternal health service utilization and household decision-making in Bangladesh. Most studies of the predictors of reproductive health service use focus on women’s reports; however, men are often involved in these decisions as well. Recently, studies have started to explore the association between health outcomes and reports of household decision-making from both husbands and wives as matched pairs. Many studies of household decision-making emphasize the importance of the wife alone making decisions; however, some have argued that joint decision-making between husbands and wives may yield better reproductive health outcomes than women making decisions without input or agreement from their partners. Husbands’ involvement in decision-making is particularly important in Bangladesh because men often dominate household decisions related to large, health-related purchases. We use matched husband and wife reports about who makes common household decisions to predict use of antenatal and skilled delivery care, using data from the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey. Results from regression analyses suggest that it is important to consider whether husbands and wives give concordant responses about who makes household decisions since discordant reports about who makes these decisions are negatively associated with reproductive health care use. In addition, compared to joint decision-making, husband-only decision-making is negatively associated with antenatal care use and skilled delivery care. Finally, associations between household decision-making arrangements and health service utilization vary depending on whose report is used and the type of health service utilized.
doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.09.017
PMCID: PMC3523098  PMID: 23068556
Bangladesh; decision-making; husbands/wives; health service utilization; maternal health
2.  ‘Born before arrival’: user and provider perspectives on health facility childbirths in Kapiri Mposhi district, Zambia 
Background
Maternal mortality remains high in sub-Saharan Africa. Health facility intra-partum strategies with skilled birth attendance have been shown to be most effective to address maternal mortality. In Zambia, the health policy for pregnant women is to have facility childbirth, but less than half of the women utilize the facilities for delivery. ‘Born before arrival’ (BBA) describes childbirth that occurs outside health facility. With the aim to increase our understanding of trust in facility birth care we explored how users and providers perceived the low utilization of health facilities during childbirth.
Methods
A qualitative study was conducted in Kapiri Mposhi, Zambia. Focus group discussions with antenatal clinic and outpatient department attendees were conducted in 2008 as part of the Response to Accountable priority setting and Trust in health systems project, (REACT). In-depth interviews conducted with women who delivered at home, their husbands, community leaders, traditional birth attendants, and midwives were added in 2011. Information was collected on perceptions and experiences of home and health facility childbirth, and reasons for not utilizing a facility at delivery. Data were analysed by inductive content analysis.
Results
Perspectives of users and providers were grouped under themes that included experiences related to promotion of facility childbirth, responsiveness of health care providers, and giving birth at home. Trust and quality of care were important when individuals seek facility childbirth. Safety, privacy and confidentiality encouraged facility childbirth. Poor attitudes of health providers, long distances and lack of transport to facilities, costs to buy delivery kits, and cultural ideals that local herbs speed up labour and women should exhibit endurance at childbirth discouraged facility childbirth.
Conclusion
Trust and perceived quality of care were important and influenced health care seeking at childbirth. Interventions that include both the demand and supply sides of services with prioritizing needs of the community could substantially improve trust and utilization of facilities at childbirth, and accelerate efforts to achieve MDG5.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-323) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-323
PMCID: PMC4171557  PMID: 25223631
Home deliveries; Health facility childbirth; Born before arrival; Responsiveness; Zambia
3.  High ANC coverage and low skilled attendance in a rural Tanzanian district: a case for implementing a birth plan intervention 
Background
In Tanzania, more than 90% of all pregnant women attend antenatal care at least once and approximately 62% four times or more, yet less than five in ten receive skilled delivery care at available health units. We conducted a qualitative study in Ngorongoro district, Northern Tanzania, in order to gain an understanding of the health systems and socio-cultural factors underlying this divergent pattern of high use of antenatal services and low use of skilled delivery care. Specifically, the study examined beliefs and behaviors related to antenatal, labor, delivery and postnatal care among the Maasai and Watemi ethnic groups. The perspectives of health care providers and traditional birth attendants on childbirth and the factors determining where women deliver were also investigated.
Methods
Twelve key informant interviews and fifteen focus group discussions were held with Maasai and Watemi women, traditional birth attendants, health care providers, and community members. Principles of the grounded theory approach were used to elicit and assess the various perspectives of each group of participants interviewed.
Results
The Maasai and Watemi women's preferences for a home birth and lack of planning for delivery are reinforced by the failure of health care providers to consistently communicate the importance of skilled delivery and immediate post-partum care for all women during routine antenatal visits. Husbands typically serve as gatekeepers of women's reproductive health in the two groups - including decisions about where they will deliver- yet they are rarely encouraged to attend antenatal sessions. While husbands are encouraged to participate in programs to prevent maternal-to-child transmission of HIV, messages about the importance of skilled delivery care for all women are not given emphasis.
Conclusions
Increasing coverage of skilled delivery care and achieving the full implementation of Tanzania's Focused Antenatal Care Package in Ngorongoro depends upon improved training and monitoring of health care providers, and greater family participation in antenatal care visits.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-13
PMCID: PMC2850322  PMID: 20302625
4.  The involvement of men in maternal health care: cross-sectional, pilot case studies from Maligita and Kibibi, Uganda 
Reproductive Health  2014;11(1):68.
Background
The International Conference on Population Development held in Cairo in 1994 identified the importance of male involvement in reproductive health programs. Since then, there has been an increase in reproductive health initiatives that target both men and women in an attempt to fulfill the 5th Millenium Development Goal. Yet, while the benefits of male involvement have been acknowledged, there continues to be a challenge in creating a space for and engaging men in maternal health. This is problematic due to the role of men as the head of the household in many countries, especially developing countries, which suffer from higher rates of maternal mortality. Furthermore, men are important as partners, fathers and health care professionals and as such it is important to involve and engage with men in maternal health education, and antenatal care.
Methods
The purpose of this study undertaken in two rural villages in southeastern Uganda, was twofold: firstly to understand men’s current participation in antenatal, pregnancy care and childbirth and secondly to gain insight into both men and women’s attitudes toward increased male involvement. Focus group discussions and semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect information from 35 men and women. The women were either pregnant or had been involved in a birth experience in the past 3 years and the men had wives who were pregnant or had given birth recently.
Results
Men interviewed in the two villages believed that issues related to pregnancy and childbirth were the domain of women. Involvement tended to be confined (to removed) strictly to traditional gender roles, with men’s main responsibility being provision of funds. The women, on the other hand, were interested in receiving more support from their husband through planning, attendance to antenatal care and physical presence in the vicinity of where the birth was taking place.
Conclusion
This cross-sectional study has highlighted the space for increased male involvement and participation in maternal health, proposed recommendations and the need for community health education directed at men that engages them in this important area.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-11-68
PMCID: PMC4167520  PMID: 25192714
Antenatal care; Male involvement; Maternal health outcomes; Uganda
5.  “Can community level interventions have an impact on equity and utilization of maternal health care” – Evidence from rural Bangladesh 
Background
Evidence from low and middle income countries (LMICs) suggests that maternal mortality is more prevalent among the poor whereas access to maternal health services is concentrated among the rich. In Bangladesh substantial inequities exist both in the use of facility-based basic obstetric care and for home births attended by skilled birth attendant. BRAC initiated an intervention on Improving Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Survival (IMNCS) in the rural areas of Bangladesh in 2008. One of the objectives of the intervention is to improve the utilization of maternal and child health care services among the poor. This study aimed to look at the impact of the intervention on utilization and also on equity of access to maternal health services.
Methods
A quasi-experimental pre-post comparison study was conducted in rural areas of five districts comprising three intervention (Gaibandha, Rangpur and Mymensingh) and two comparison districts (Netrokona and Naogaon). Data on health seeking behaviour for maternal health were collected from a repeated cross sectional household survey conducted in 2008 and 2010.
Results
Results show that the intervention appears to cause an increase in the utilization of antenatal care. The concentration index (CI) shows that this has become pro-poor over time (from CI: 0.30 to CI: 0.04) in the intervention areas. In contrast the use of ANC from medically trained providers has become pro-rich (from, CI: 0.18 to CI: 0.22). There was a significant increase in the utilisation of trained attendants for home delivery in the intervention areas compared to the comparison areas and the change was found to be pro-poor. Use of postnatal care cervices was also found to be pro-poor (from CI: 0.37 to CI: 0.14). Utilization of ANC services provided by medically trained provider did not improve in the intervention area. However, where the intervention had a positive effect on utilization it also seemed to have had a positive effect on equity.
Conclusions
To sustain equity in health care utilization, the IMNCS programme needs to continue providing free home based services. In addition to this, the programme should also continue to provide funding to bear the cost to those mothers who are not able to have the comprehensive ANC from medically trained providers.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-12-22
PMCID: PMC3620556  PMID: 23547900
6.  Accounts of severe acute obstetric complications in Rural Bangladesh 
Background
As maternal deaths have decreased worldwide, increasing attention has been placed on the study of severe obstetric complications, such as hemorrhage, eclampsia, and obstructed labor, to identify where improvements can be made in maternal health. Though access to medical care is considered to be life-saving during obstetric emergencies, data on the factors associated with health care decision-making during obstetric emergencies are lacking. We aim to describe the health care decision-making process during severe acute obstetric complications among women and their families in rural Bangladesh.
Methods
Using the pregnancy surveillance infrastructure from a large community trial in northwest rural Bangladesh, we nested a qualitative study to document barriers to timely receipt of medical care for severe obstetric complications. We conducted 40 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with women reporting severe acute obstetric complications and purposively selected for conditions representing the top five most common obstetric complications. The interviews were transcribed and coded to highlight common themes and to develop an overall conceptual model.
Results
Women attributed their life-threatening experiences to societal and socioeconomic factors that led to delays in seeking timely medical care by decision makers, usually husbands or other male relatives. Despite the dominance of male relatives and husbands in the decision-making process, women who underwent induced abortions made their own decisions about their health care and relied on female relatives for advice. The study shows that non-certified providers such as village doctors and untrained birth attendants were the first-line providers for women in all categories of severe complications. Coordination of transportation and finances was often arranged through mobile phones, and referrals were likely to be provided by village doctors.
Conclusions
Strategies to increase timely and appropriate care seeking for severe obstetric complications may consider targeting of non-certified providers for strengthening of referral linkages between patients and certified facility-based providers. Future research may characterize the treatments and appropriateness of emergency care provided by ubiquitous village doctors and other non-certified treatment providers in rural South Asian settings. In addition, future studies may explore the use of mobile phones in decreasing delays to certified medical care during obstetric emergencies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-76
PMCID: PMC3250923  PMID: 22018330
7.  The Influence of Distance and Level of Care on Delivery Place in Rural Zambia: A Study of Linked National Data in a Geographic Information System 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(1):e1000394.
Using linked national data in a geographic information system system, Sabine Gabrysch and colleagues investigate the effects of distance to care and level of care on women's use of health facilities for delivery in rural Zambia.
Background
Maternal and perinatal mortality could be reduced if all women delivered in settings where skilled attendants could provide emergency obstetric care (EmOC) if complications arise. Research on determinants of skilled attendance at delivery has focussed on household and individual factors, neglecting the influence of the health service environment, in part due to a lack of suitable data. The aim of this study was to quantify the effects of distance to care and level of care on women's use of health facilities for delivery in rural Zambia, and to compare their population impact to that of other important determinants.
Methods and Findings
Using a geographic information system (GIS), we linked national household data from the Zambian Demographic and Health Survey 2007 with national facility data from the Zambian Health Facility Census 2005 and calculated straight-line distances. Health facilities were classified by whether they provided comprehensive EmOC (CEmOC), basic EmOC (BEmOC), or limited or substandard services. Multivariable multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed to investigate the influence of distance to care and level of care on place of delivery (facility or home) for 3,682 rural births, controlling for a wide range of confounders. Only a third of rural Zambian births occurred at a health facility, and half of all births were to mothers living more than 25 km from a facility of BEmOC standard or better. As distance to the closest health facility doubled, the odds of facility delivery decreased by 29% (95% CI, 14%–40%). Independently, each step increase in level of care led to 26% higher odds of facility delivery (95% CI, 7%–48%). The population impact of poor geographic access to EmOC was at least of similar magnitude as that of low maternal education, household poverty, or lack of female autonomy.
Conclusions
Lack of geographic access to emergency obstetric care is a key factor explaining why most rural deliveries in Zambia still occur at home without skilled care. Addressing geographic and quality barriers is crucial to increase service use and to lower maternal and perinatal mortality. Linking datasets using GIS has great potential for future research and can help overcome the neglect of health system factors in research and policy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Approximately 360,000 women die each year in pregnancy and childbirth, of which more than 200,000 in sub-Saharan Africa, where a woman's lifetime risk of dying during or following pregnancy remains as high as 1 in 31 (compared to 1 in 4,300 in the developed world). The target of Millennium Development Goal 5 is to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters by 2015. Most maternal and neonatal deaths in low-income countries could be prevented if all women delivered their babies in settings where skilled birth attendants (such as midwives) were available and could provide emergency obstetric care to both mothers and babies in case of complications. Yet every year roughly 50 million women give birth at home without skilled care.
Why was this study done?
The likelihood of a woman giving birth in a health facility under the care of a skilled birth attendant depends on many factors. These include characteristics of the mother and her family, such as education level and household wealth, and aspects of the health service environment—distance to the nearest health facility and the quality of care provided at that facility, for example. However, research to date has typically focused on household and individual factors, neglecting the influence of the health service environment on choice of delivery place, largely because suitable data was not available. In this study in rural Zambia, the researchers aimed to quantify the effects of the health service environment, namely distance to health care and the level of care provided, on pregnant women's use of health facilities for giving birth. To put these factors in context, the researchers compared the impact of distance to quality care on place of delivery to that of other important factors, such as poverty and education.
What did the researchers do and find?
Using a geographic information system (GIS), the researchers linked national household data (from the 2007 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey) with national facility data (from the 2005 Zambian Health Facility Census) and calculated straight-line distances between women's villages and health facilities. Health facilities were classified as providing comprehensive emergency obstetric care, basic emergency obstetric care, or limited or substandard services by using reported capability to perform a certain number of the eight emergency obstetric care signal functions: injectable antibiotics, injectable oxytocics, injectable anticonvulsants, manual removal of placenta, manual removal of retained products, assisted vaginal delivery, cesarean section, and blood transfusion, as well as criteria on staffing, opening hours and referral capacity. The researchers used data from 3,682 rural births and multivariable multilevel logistic regression analyses to investigate whether distance to, and level of care at the closest delivery facility influence place of delivery (health facility or home), keeping other influential factors constant.
The researchers found that only a third of births in rural Zambia occurred at a health facility, and half of all mothers who gave birth lived more than 25 km from a health facility that provided basic emergency obstetric services. As distance to the closest health facility doubled, the odds of a women giving birth in a health facility decreased by 29%. Independently, each step increase in the level of emergency obstetric care provided at the closest delivery facility led to an increased likelihood (26% higher odds) of a woman delivering her baby at a facility. The researchers estimated that the impact of poor geographic access to emergency obstetric services was of similar magnitude as that of low maternal education, household poverty, or lack of female autonomy.
What do these findings mean?
The results of this study suggest that poor geographic access to emergency obstetric care is a key factor in explaining why most women in rural Zambia still deliver their babies at home without skilled care. Therefore, in order to increase the number of women delivering in health facilities and thus reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, it is crucial to address the geographic and quality barriers to delivery service use. Furthermore, the methodology used in this study—linking datasets using GIS— has great potential for future research as it can help explore the influence of health system factors also for other health problems.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000394.
Information about emergency obstetric care is provided by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Various topics on maternal health are presented by WHO, WHO Regional Office Africa, by UNPFA, and UNICEF
WHO offers detailed information about MDG5
Family Care International offers more information about maternal and neonatal health
The Averting Maternal Death and Disability program (AMDD) provides information on needs assessments of emergency obstetric and newborn care
Countdown to 2015 tracks progress in maternal, newborn, and child survival
WHO provides free online viewing of BBC Fight for Life videos describing delivery experiences in different countries
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000394
PMCID: PMC3026699  PMID: 21283606
8.  Impact of community-based interventions on maternal and neonatal health indicators: Results from a community randomized trial in rural Balochistan, Pakistan 
Reproductive Health  2010;7:30.
Background
Pakistan has high maternal mortality, particularly in the rural areas. The delay in decision making to seek medical care during obstetric emergencies remains a significant factor in maternal mortality.
Methods
We present results from an experimental study in rural Pakistan. Village clusters were randomly assigned to intervention and control arms (16 clusters each). In the intervention clusters, women were provided information on safe motherhood through pictorial booklets and audiocassettes; traditional birth attendants were trained in clean delivery and recognition of obstetric and newborn complications; and emergency transportation systems were set up. In eight of the 16 intervention clusters, husbands also received specially designed education materials on safe motherhood and family planning. Pre- and post-intervention surveys on selected maternal and neonatal health indicators were conducted in all 32 clusters. A district-wide survey was conducted two years after project completion to measure any residual impact of the interventions.
Results
Pregnant women in intervention clusters received prenatal care and prophylactic iron therapy more frequently than pregnant women in control clusters. Providing safe motherhood education to husbands resulted in further improvement of some indicators. There was a small but significant increase in percent of hospital deliveries but no impact on the use of skilled birth attendants. Perinatal mortality reduced significantly in clusters where only wives received information and education in safe motherhood. The survey to assess residual impact showed similar results.
Conclusions
We conclude that providing safe motherhood education increased the probability of pregnant women having prenatal care and utilization of health services for obstetric complications.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-7-30
PMCID: PMC2993657  PMID: 21054870
9.  Maternal care practices among the ultra poor households in rural Bangladesh: a qualitative exploratory study 
Background
Although many studies have been carried out to learn about maternal care practices in rural areas and urban-slums of Bangladesh, none have focused on ultra poor women. Understanding the context in which women would be willing to accept new practices is essential for developing realistic and relevant behaviour change messages. This study sought to fill in this knowledge gap by exploring maternal care practices among women who participated in a grant-based livelihood programme for the ultra poor. This is expected to assist the designing of the health education messages programme in an effort to improve maternal morbidity and survival towards achieving the UN millennium Development Goal 5.
Methods
Qualitative method was used to collect data on maternal care practices during pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum period from women in ultra poor households. The sample included both currently pregnant women who have had a previous childbirth, and lactating women, participating in a grant-based livelihood development programme. Rangpur and Kurigram districts in northern Bangladesh were selected for data collection.
Results
Women usually considered pregnancy as a normal event unless complications arose, and most of them refrained from seeking antenatal care (ANC) except for confirmation of pregnancy, and no prior preparation for childbirth was taken. Financial constraints, coupled with traditional beliefs and rituals, delayed care-seeking in cases where complications arose. Delivery usually took place on the floor in the squatting posture and the attendants did not always follow antiseptic measures such as washing hands before conducting delivery. Following the birth of the baby, attention was mainly focused on the expulsion of the placenta and various maneuvres were adapted to hasten the process, which were sometimes harmful. There were multiple food-related taboos and restrictions, which decreased the consumption of protein during pregnancy and post-partum period. Women usually failed to go to the healthcare providers for illnesses in the post-partum period.
Conclusion
This study shows that cultural beliefs and norms have a strong influence on maternal care practices among the ultra poor households, and override the beneficial economic effects from livelihood support intervention. Some of these practices, often compromised by various taboos and beliefs, may become harmful at times. Health behavior education in this livelihood support program can be carefully tailored to local cultural beliefs to achieve better maternal outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-15
PMCID: PMC3056829  PMID: 21362164
10.  Economic Empowerment of Women and Utilization of Maternal Delivery Care in Bangladesh 
Objective:
Maternal mortality is a major public health problem in low-income countries, such as Bangladesh. Women's empowerment in relation to enhanced utilization of delivery care is underexplored. This study investigates the associations between women's economic empowerment and their utilization of maternal health care services in Bangladesh.
Methods:
In total, 4925 women (15–49 years of age) with at least one child from whole Bangladesh constituted the study sample. Home delivery without skilled birth attendant and use of institutional delivery services were the main outcome variables used for the analyses. Economic empowerment, neighborhood socioeconomic status, household economic status, and demographic factors were considered as explanatory variables. The chi square test and unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression analyses were applied at the collected data.
Results:
In the adjusted model, respondent's and husband's education, household economic status, and residency emerged as important predictors for utilization of delivery care services. In the unadjusted model, economically empowered working and microfinanced women displayed more home delivery.
Conclusion:
The current study shows that use of delivery care services is associated with socioeconomic development and can be enhanced by societies that focus on general issues such as schooling, economic wellbeing, and gender-based discrimination.
PMCID: PMC3445279  PMID: 23024852
Empowerment; home delivery; maternal mortality; neighborhood socioeconomic status
11.  A decade of inequality in maternity care: antenatal care, professional attendance at delivery, and caesarean section in Bangladesh (1991–2004) 
Background
Bangladesh is committed to the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG-5) target of reducing its maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015. Since the early 1990s, Bangladesh has followed a strategy of improving access to facilities equipped and staffed to provide emergency obstetric care (EmOC).
Methods
We used data from four Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 1993 and 2004 to examine trends in the proportions of live births preceded by antenatal consultation, attended by a health professional, and delivered by caesarean section, according to key socio-demographic characteristics.
Results
Utilization of antenatal care increased substantially, from 24% in 1991 to 60% in 2004. Despite a relatively greater increase in rural than urban areas, utilization remained much lower among the poorest rural women without formal education (18%) compared with the richest urban women with secondary or higher education (99%). Professional attendance at delivery increased by 50% (from 9% to 14%, more rapidly in rural than urban areas), and caesarean sections trebled (from 2% to 6%), but these indicators remained low even by developing country standards. Within these trends there were huge inequalities; 86% of live births among the richest urban women with secondary or higher education were attended by a health professional, and 35% were delivered by caesarean section, compared with 2% and 0.1% respectively of live births among the poorest rural women without formal education. The trend in professional attendance was entirely confounded by socioeconomic and demographic changes, but education of the woman and her husband remained important determinants of utilization of obstetric services.
Conclusion
Despite commendable progress in improving uptake of antenatal care, and in equipping health facilities to provide emergency obstetric care, the very low utilization of these facilities, especially by poor women, is a major impediment to meeting MDG-5 in Bangladesh.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-6-9
PMCID: PMC2014749  PMID: 17760962
12.  Determinants of antenatal and delivery care utilization in Tigray region, Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study 
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-12-30
PMCID: PMC3658893  PMID: 23672203
13.  Skilled Care at Birth among Rural Women in Nepal: Practice and Challenges 
In Nepal, most births take place at home, and many, particularly in rural areas, are not attended by a skilled birth attendant. The main objectives of the study were to assess the use of skilled delivery care and barriers to access such care in a rural community and to assess health problems during delivery and seeking care. This cross-sectional study was carried out in two Village Development Committees in Nepal in 2006. In total, 150 women who had a live birth in the 24 months preceding the survey were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The sample population included married women aged 15-49 years. Forty-six (31%) women delivered their babies at hospital, and 104 (69%) delivered at home. The cost of delivery at hospital was significantly (p<0.001) higher than that of a delivery at home. Results of univariate analysis showed that women from Brahmin-Chhetri ethnicity, women with higher education or who were more skilled, whose husbands had higher education and more skilled jobs, had first or second childbirth, and having adverse previous obstetric history were associated with institutional delivery while women with higher education and having an adverse history of pregnancy outcome predicted the uptake of skilled delivery care in Nepal. The main perceived problems to access skilled delivery care were: distance to hospital, lack of transportation, lack of awareness on delivery care, and cost. The main reasons for seeking intrapartum care were long labour, retained placenta, and excessive bleeding. Only a quarter of women sought care immediately after problems occurred. The main reasons seeking care late were: the woman or her family not perceiving that there was a serious problem, distance to health facility, and lack of transport. The use of skilled birth attendants at delivery among rural women in Nepal is very poor. Home delivery by unskilled birth attendants is still a common practice among them. Many associated factors relating to the use of skilled delivery care that were identified included age, education and occupation of women, and education and occupation of husbands. Therefore, the availability of skilled delivery care services at the community, initiation of a primary health centre with skilled staff for delivery, and increasing awareness among women to seek skilled delivery care are the best solution.
PMCID: PMC3190368  PMID: 21957676
Childbirth; Cross-sectional studies; Descriptive studies; Delivery; Rural health services; Skilled attendants; Nepal
14.  Why Do Women Not Use Antenatal Services in Low- and Middle-Income Countries? A Meta-Synthesis of Qualitative Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(1):e1001373.
In a synthesis of 21 qualitative studies representing the views of more than 1,230 women from 15 countries, Kenneth Finlayson and Soo Downe examine the reasons why many women in low- and middle-income countries do not receive adequate antenatal care.
Background
Almost 50% of women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) don't receive adequate antenatal care. Women's views can offer important insights into this problem. Qualitative studies exploring inadequate use of antenatal services have been undertaken in a range of countries, but the findings are not easily transferable. We aimed to inform the development of future antenatal care programmes through a synthesis of findings in all relevant qualitative studies.
Methods and Findings
Using a predetermined search strategy, we identified robust qualitative studies reporting on the views and experiences of women in LMICs who received inadequate antenatal care. We used meta-ethnographic techniques to generate themes and a line-of-argument synthesis. We derived policy-relevant hypotheses from the findings. We included 21 papers representing the views of more than 1,230 women from 15 countries. Three key themes were identified: “pregnancy as socially risky and physiologically healthy”, “resource use and survival in conditions of extreme poverty”, and “not getting it right the first time”. The line-of-argument synthesis describes a dissonance between programme design and cultural contexts that may restrict access and discourage return visits. We hypothesize that centralised, risk-focused antenatal care programmes may be at odds with the resources, beliefs, and experiences of pregnant women who underuse antenatal services.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that there may be a misalignment between current antenatal care provision and the social and cultural context of some women in LMICs. Antenatal care provision that is theoretically and contextually at odds with local contextual beliefs and experiences is likely to be underused, especially when attendance generates increased personal risks of lost family resources or physical danger during travel, when the promised care is not delivered because of resource constraints, and when women experience covert or overt abuse in care settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Although maternal deaths worldwide have almost halved since 1990, according to the latest figures, every day roughly 800 women and adolescent girls still die from the complications of pregnancy or childbirth: in 2010, 287,000 women died during or following pregnancy and childbirth, with almost all of these deaths (99%) occurring in low-resource settings. Most maternal deaths are avoidable, as the interventions to prevent or manage the most common complications (severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and unsafe abortion) are well known. Furthermore, many of these complications can be prevented, detected, or treated during antenatal care visits with trained health workers.
Why Was This Study Done?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of four antenatal visits per pregnancy, but according to WHO figures, between 2005 and 2010 only 53% of pregnant women worldwide attended the recommended four antenatal visits; in low-income countries, this figure was a disappointing 36%. Unfortunately, despite huge international efforts to promote and provide antenatal care, there has been little improvement in these statistics over the past decade. It is therefore important to investigate the reasons for poor antenatal attendance and to seek the views of users of antenatal care. In this study, the researchers combined studies from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that included women's views on antenatal care in a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies (qualitative research uses techniques, such as structured interviews, to gather an in-depth understanding of human behaviour, and a meta-synthesis combines and interprets information across studies, contexts, and populations).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers searched several medical, sociological, and psychological databases to find appropriate qualitative studies published between January 1980 and February 2012 that explored the antenatal care experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of women from LMICs who had chosen to access antenatal care late (after 12 weeks' gestation), infrequently (less than four times), or not at all. The researchers included 21 studies (out of the 2,997 initially identified) in their synthesis, representing the views of 1,239 women from 15 countries (Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda) who were either interviewed directly or gave their opinion as part of a focus group.
The researchers identified three main themes. The first theme reflects women's views that pregnancy is a healthy state and so saw little reason to visit health professionals when they perceived no risk to their well-being—the researchers called this theme, “pregnancy as socially contingent and physiologically healthy.” The second theme relates to women's limited financial resources, so that even when antenatal care was offered free of charge, the cost of transport to get there, the loss of earnings associated with the visit, and the possibility of having to pay for medicines meant that women were unable to attend—the researchers called this theme “resource use and survival in conditions of extreme poverty.” The third theme the researchers identified related to women's views that the antenatal services were inadequate and that the benefits of attending did not outweigh any potential harms. For example, pregnant women who initially recognized the benefits of antenatal care were often disappointed by the lack of resources they found when they got there and, consequently, decided not to return. The researchers called this theme “not getting it right the first time.”
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that there may be a misalignment between the principles that underpin the provision of antenatal care and the beliefs and socio-economic contexts of pregnant women in LMICs, meaning that even high-quality antenatal care may not be used by some pregnant women unless their views and concerns are addressed. The themes identified in this meta-synthesis could provide the basis for a new approach to the design and delivery of antenatal care that takes local beliefs and values and resource availability into account. Such programs might help ensure that antenatal care meets pregnant women's expectations and treats them appropriately so that they want to regularly attend antenatal care.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001373.
Wikipedia describes antenatal care (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
The World Health Organization has a wealth of information relating to pregnancy, including antenatal care
The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has evidence-based guidelines on antenatal care
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood has a series of web pages and links relating to respectful maternity care in LMICs
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics is an international organization with connections to various maternity initiatives in LMICs
International Confederation of Midwives has details of the Millennium Development Goals relating to maternity care
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001373
PMCID: PMC3551970  PMID: 23349622
15.  Using the community-based health planning and services program to promote skilled delivery in rural Ghana: socio-demographic factors that influence women utilization of skilled attendants at birth in Northern Ghana 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:344.
Background
The burden of maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa is enormous. In Ghana the maternal mortality ratio was 350 per 100,000 live births in 2010. Skilled birth attendance has been shown to reduce maternal deaths and disabilities, yet in 2010 only 68% of mothers in Ghana gave birth with skilled birth attendants. In 2005, the Ghana Health Service piloted an enhancement of its Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) program, training Community Health Officers (CHOs) as midwives, to address the gap in skilled attendance in rural Upper East Region (UER). The study determined the extent to which CHO-midwives skilled delivery program achieved its desired outcomes in UER among birthing women.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional household survey with women who had ever given birth in the three years prior to the survey. We employed a two stage sampling techniques: In the first stage we proportionally selected enumeration areas, and the second stage involved random selection of households. In each household, where there is more than one woman with a child within the age limit, we interviewed the woman with the youngest child. We collected data on awareness of the program, use of the services and factors that are associated with skilled attendants at birth.
Results
A total of 407 households/women were interviewed. Eighty three percent of respondents knew that CHO-midwives provided delivery services in CHPS zones. Seventy nine percent of the deliveries were with skilled attendants; and over half of these skilled births (42% of total) were by CHO-midwives. Multivariate analyses showed that women of the Nankana ethnic group and those with uneducated husbands were less likely to access skilled attendants at birth in rural settings.
Conclusions
The implementation of the CHO-midwife program in UER appeared to have contributed to expanded skilled delivery care access and utilization for rural women. However, women of the Nankana ethnic group and uneducated men must be targeted with health education to improve women utilizing skilled delivery services in rural communities of the region.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-344
PMCID: PMC4020603  PMID: 24721385
Community-based service delivery; Ghana; Maternal mortality; Women service utilization; Skilled attendants at birth
16.  The Role of HIV-Related Stigma in Utilization of Skilled Childbirth Services in Rural Kenya: A Prospective Mixed-Methods Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(8):e1001295.
Janet Turan and colleagues examined the role of the perception of women in rural Kenya of HIV-related stigma during pregnancy on their subsequent utilization of maternity services.
Background
Childbirth with a skilled attendant is crucial for preventing maternal mortality and is an important opportunity for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The Maternity in Migori and AIDS Stigma Study (MAMAS Study) is a prospective mixed-methods investigation conducted in a high HIV prevalence area in rural Kenya, in which we examined the role of women's perceptions of HIV-related stigma during pregnancy in their subsequent utilization of maternity services.
Methods and Findings
From 2007–2009, 1,777 pregnant women with unknown HIV status completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire assessing their perceptions of HIV-related stigma before being offered HIV testing during their first antenatal care visit. After the visit, a sub-sample of women was selected for follow-up (all women who tested HIV-positive or were not tested for HIV, and a random sample of HIV-negative women, n = 598); 411 (69%) were located and completed another questionnaire postpartum. Additional qualitative in-depth interviews with community health workers, childbearing women, and family members (n = 48) aided our interpretation of the quantitative findings and highlighted ways in which HIV-related stigma may influence birth decisions. Qualitative data revealed that health facility birth is commonly viewed as most appropriate for women with pregnancy complications, such as HIV. Thus, women delivering at health facilities face the risk of being labeled as HIV-positive in the community. Our quantitative data revealed that women with higher perceptions of HIV-related stigma (specifically those who held negative attitudes about persons living with HIV) at baseline were subsequently less likely to deliver in a health facility with a skilled attendant, even after adjusting for other known predictors of health facility delivery (adjusted odds ratio = 0.44, 95% CI 0.22–0.88).
Conclusions
Our findings point to the urgent need for interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma, not only for improving quality of life among persons living with HIV, but also for better health outcomes among all childbearing women and their families.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, nearly 350,000 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications. Almost all these “maternal” deaths occur in developing countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the maternal mortality ratio (the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) is 500 whereas in industrialized countries it is only 12. Most maternal deaths are caused by hemorrhage (severe bleeding after childbirth), post-delivery infections, obstructed (difficult) labor, and blood pressure disorders during pregnancy. All these conditions can be prevented if women have access to adequate reproductive health services and if trained health care workers are present during delivery. Notably, in sub-Saharan Africa, infection with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) is an increasingly important contributor to maternal mortality. HIV infection causes maternal mortality directly by increasing the occurrence of pregnancy complications and indirectly by increasing the susceptibility of pregnant women to malaria, tuberculosis, and other “opportunistic” infections—HIV-positive individuals are highly susceptible to other infections because HIV destroys the immune system.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although skilled delivery attendants reduce maternal mortality, there are many barriers to their use in developing countries including cost and the need to travel long distances to health facilities. Fears and experiences of HIV-related stigma and discrimination (prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse, and maltreatment directed at people living with HIV) may also be a barrier to the use of skilled childbirth service. Maternity services are prime locations for HIV testing and for the provision of interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, so pregnant women know that they will have to “deal with” the issue of HIV when visiting these services. In this prospective mixed-methods study, the researchers examine the role of pregnant women's perceptions of HIV-related stigma in their subsequent use of maternity services in Nyanza Province, Kenya, a region where 16% women aged 15–49 are HIV-positive and where only 44.2% of mothers give birth in a health facility. A mixed-methods study combines qualitative data—how people feel about an issue—with quantitative data—numerical data about outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the Maternity in Migori and AIDS Stigma (MAMAS) study, pregnant women with unknown HIV status living in rural regions of Nyanza Province answered questions about their perceptions of HIV-related stigma before being offered HIV testing during their first antenatal clinic visit. After delivery, the researchers asked the women who tested HIV positive or were not tested for HIV and a sample of HIV-negative women where they had delivered their baby. They also gathered qualitative information about barriers to maternity and HIV service use by interviewing childbearing women, family members, and community health workers. The qualitative data indicate that labor in a health facility is commonly viewed as being most appropriate for women with pregnancy complications such as HIV infection. Thus, women delivering at health facilities risk being labeled as HIV positive, a label that the community associates with promiscuity. The quantitative data indicate that women with more negative attitudes about HIV-positive people (higher perceptions of HIV-related stigma) at baseline were about half as likely to deliver in a health facility with a skilled attendant as women with more positive attitudes about people living with HIV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that HIV-related stigma is associated with the low rate of delivery by skilled attendants in rural areas of Nyanza Province and possibly in other rural regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Community mobilization efforts aimed at increasing the use of PMTCT services may be partly responsible for the strong perception that delivery in a health facility is most appropriate for women with HIV and other pregnancy complications and may have inadvertently strengthened the perception that women who give birth in such facilities are likely to be HIV positive. The researchers suggest, therefore, that health messages should stress that delivery in a health facility is recommended for all women, not just HIV-positive women or those with pregnancy complications, and that interventions should be introduced to reduce HIV-related stigma. This combined strategy has the potential to increase the use of maternity services by all women and the use of HIV and PMTCT services, thereby reducing some of the most pressing health problems facing women and their children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001295.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) provides information on maternal mortality, including the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/World Bank 2008 country estimates of maternal mortality; a UNICEF special report tells the stories of seven mothers living with HIV in Lesotho
The World Health Organization provides information on maternal health, including information about Millennium Development Goal 5, which aims to reduce maternal mortality (in several languages); the Millennium Development Goals, which were agreed by world leaders in 2000, are designed to eradicate extreme poverty worldwide by 2015
Immpact is a global research initiative for the evaluation of safe motherhood intervention strategies
Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis is a briefing paper published by the independent humanitarian medical aid organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in March 2012
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on women, HIV and AIDS, on HIV and pregnancy, on HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination, and on HIV in Kenya (in English and Spanish); Avert also has personal stories from women living with HIV
The Stigma Action Network (SAN) is a collaborative endeavor that aims to comprehensively coordinate efforts to develop and expand program, research, and advocacy strategies for reducing HIV stigma worldwide, including mobilizing stakeholders, delivering program and policy solutions, and maximizing investments in HIV programs and services globally
The People Living with Stigma Index aims to address stigma relating to HIV and advocate on key barriers and issues perpetuating stigma; it has recently published Piecing it together for women and girls, the gender dimensions of HIV-related stigma
The Health Policy Project http://www.healthpolicyproject.com has prepared a review of the academic and programmatic literature on stigma and discrimination as barriers to achievement of global goals for maternal health and the elimination of new child HIV infections (see under Resources)
More information on the MAMAS study is available from the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001295
PMCID: PMC3424253  PMID: 22927800
17.  Care for perinatal illness in rural Nepal: a descriptive study with cross-sectional and qualitative components 
Background
Maternal, perinatal and neonatal mortality rates remain high in rural areas of developing countries. Most deliveries take place at home and care-seeking behaviour is often delayed. We report on a combined quantitative and qualitative study of care seeking obstacles and practices relating to perinatal illness in rural Makwanpur district, Nepal, with particular emphasis on consultation strategies.
Methods
The analysis included a survey of 8798 women who reported a birth in the previous two years [of whom 3557 reported illness in their pregnancy], on 30 case studies of perinatal morbidity and mortality, and on 43 focus group discussions with mothers, other family members and health workers.
Results
Early pregnancy was often concealed, preparation for birth was minimal and trained attendance at birth was uncommon. Family members were favoured attendants, particularly mothers-in-law. The most common recalled maternal complications were prolonged labour, postpartum haemorrhage and retained placenta. Neonatal death, though less definable, was often associated with cessation of suckling and shortness of breath. Many home-based care practices for maternal and neonatal illness were described. Self-medication was common.
There were delays in recognising and acting on danger signs, and in seeking care beyond the household, in which the cultural requirement for maternal seclusion, and the perceived expense of care, played a part. Of the 760 women who sought care at a government facility, 70% took more than 12 hours from the decision to seek help to actual consultation. Consultation was primarily with traditional healers, who were key actors in the ascription of causation. Use of the government primary health care system was limited: the most common source of allopathic care was the district hospital.
Conclusions
Major obstacles to seeking care were: a limited capacity to recognise danger signs; the need to watch and wait; and an overwhelming preference to treat illness within the community. Safer motherhood and newborn care programmes in rural communities, must address both community and health facility care to have an impact on morbidity and mortality. The roles of community actors such as mothers-in-law, husbands, local healers and pharmacies, and increased access to properly trained birth attendants need to be addressed if delays in reaching health facilities are to be shortened.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-3-3
PMCID: PMC194728  PMID: 12932300
Perinatal illness; health care seeking practices; Nepal; Safe Motherhood; Traditional Healer; Traditional Birth Attendant.
18.  Why do women not deliver in health facilities: a qualitative study of the community perspectives in south central Ethiopia? 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7(1):556.
Background
In Ethiopia most childbirth occurs at home and is not assisted by skilled birth attendants. On the other hand having a birth attendant with midwifery skills during child birth is one of the most important interventions in reducing maternal morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to make an in-depth assessment of reasons why mothers do not use health facilities for child delivery.
Methods
Focus Group Discussions were used to gather information on use of health facilities for delivery in Butajira districts of South Central Ethiopia. The study was conducted from January to February 2012. Information was collected from four groups of women who had delivered in the past two years and four groups of men whose wives/partners have delivered in the same period. Data was coded and categorized using open code, qualitative data management software and analyzed based on thematic analysis.
Results
A total of eight FGD sessions, four with women and four with men groups were conducted involving 81 residents of the Butajira district. FGD participants answered that a large majority of women in the district gave birth at home. Two major themes, client related factors and facility/staff factors, emerged. Factors that emerged within major themes of client factors were decision making on place of delivery, reliance on Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), misconception about services provided at health facility, inability of family members to be present at time of labor and delivery, lack of privacy, traditional and/or spiritual factors, economic factors and accessibility to health care facilities. Within major themes of facility/staff factors subthemes that emerged were poor reception, refusal of admission, lack of privacy, information gap, poor competence and shortage of staff and materials at health facilities.
Conclusion
Women in the study areas do not deliver in health facilities because of reasons that can be attributed to health care system and client related factors. These need to be addressed by considering the specific factors related to the health system and community perspectives.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-7-556
PMCID: PMC4155096  PMID: 25143017
Qualitative; Delivery; Skilled attendant at birth; Community perspective; Ethiopia
19.  Making pragmatic choices: women’s experiences of delivery care in Northern Ethiopia 
Background
In 2003, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health launched the Health Extension Programme (HEP), which was intended to increase access to reproductive health care. Despite enormous effort, utilization of maternal health services remains limited, and the reasons for the low utilization of the services offered through the HEP previously have not been explored in depth.
This study explores women’s experiences and perceptions regarding delivery care in Tigray, a northern region of Ethiopia, and enables us to make suggestions for better implementation of maternal health care services in this setting.
Methods
We used six focus group discussions with 51 women to explore perceptions and experiences regarding delivery care. The data were analysed by means of grounded theory.
Results
One core category emerged, ‘making pragmatic choices’, which connected the categories ‘aiming for safer deliveries’, ‘embedded in tradition’, and ‘medical knowledge under constrained circumstances’. In this setting, women – aiming for safer deliveries – made choices pragmatically between the two available models of childbirth. On the one hand, choice of home delivery, represented by the category ‘embedded in tradition’, was related to their faith, the ascendancy of elderly women, the advantages of staying at home and the custom of traditional birth attendants (TBAs). On the other, institutional delivery, represented by the category ‘medical knowledge under constrained circumstances’, and linked to how women appreciated medical resources and the support of health extension workers (HEWs) but were uncertain about the quality of care, emphasized the barriers to transportation.
In Tigray women made choices pragmatically and seemed to not feel any conflict between the two available models, being supported by traditional birth attendants, HEWs and husbands in their decision-making. Representatives of the two models were not as open to collaboration as the women themselves, however.
Conclusions
Although women did not see any conflict between traditional and institutional maternal care, the gap between the models remained and revealed a need to reconcile differing views among the caregivers. The HEP would benefit from an approach that incorporates all the actors involved in maternal care, at institutional, community and family levels alike. Reconsideration is required of the role of TBAs, and a well-designed, community-inclusive, coordinated and feasible referral system should be maintained.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-113
PMCID: PMC3542090  PMID: 23078068
20.  Predictors of Safe Delivery Service Utilization in Arsi Zone, South-East Ethiopia 
Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences  2011;21(Suppl 1):95-106.
Background
Evidence show that lack of access to and use of, essential obstetric care services to be a crucial factor that contributes to the high maternal morbidity and mortality. Skilled attendance during labor, delivery and early post-partum period could reduce deaths due to obstructed labor, hemorrhage, sepsis and eclampsia. There is limited information on the mothers' use of skilled delivery services in the study area. This study assessed the predictors of safe delivery service utilization in Arsi Zone, Southeast Ethiopia.
Methods
A cross- sectional community based study using quantitative and qualitative methods was conducted from February 15th to March 15th 2006. A total of 1089 women who had at least one birth one year prior to the study were involved in the study from nine rural and four urban kebeles in three Woredas (Districts) selected using a systematic sampling method from all households in the study area. A pre-tested structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Information on the utilization of safe delivery service and socio-demographic, individual and institutional factors and past obstetric history were collected. Focus Group Discussion guide was used for qualitative data collection. The data were edited, cleaned, and entered into a computer and analyzed using SPSS for windows version 12.0.
Result
One thousand seventy four women who had at least one birth were interviewed making a response rate 98.6%. Two hundred seventy one (75.0%) of urban and 373(52.0%) rural women received antenatal care from skilled health professional at least once during their last pregnancy. Thirty-one (4.3%) of rural and 145 (40.4%) of urban women delivered in health institution. In multivariate analysis showed that residential area OR= 8.5, 95%CI; (5.1,13.9), parity OR=0.18, 95%CI; (0.08, 0.42), and ANC service use OR= 4.5, 95%CI; (2.2,8.9), and maternal education OR=4.6, 95%CI; (1.7,12.8), were most significant predictors of safe delivery service use by mothers (P< 0.01).
Conclusion
Birth attended by skilled personnel was low in the study area. Maternal education, her birth experience and her use of prenatal services are important predictors. Promoting information, education and communication on safe delivery service utilization, expansion of health service and empowerment of women are needed.
PMCID: PMC3275878  PMID: 24776809
safe delivery; skilled attendants; maternal health service utilization
21.  How Much do Rural Indian Husbands Care for the Health of their Wives' 
Objective:
To ascertain the response of husbands to their wives' health problems.
Materials and Methods:
We selected 100 couples through a systematic random sampling from 4 purposively selected villages; these couples were interviewed by a social worker in rural North India through house-to-house survey. The role of husbands during pregnancy, puerperium and during the wives' illness was explored. Their awareness with regard to the reproductive health problems of their wives was also ascertained. Another outpatient department (OPD)-based interview of female (n = 300) patients was conducted; 50 each at health post, subcenter, primary health centers (PHC), community health center (CHC), 50-bed hospital and apex institution. Previous consultation history was also obtained.
Results:
Husbands escorted their wives to hospital in 30–40% cases. This was mainly for a visit to bigger hospitals in cities/towns. Husbands decided regarding the treatment agency in the majority of cases. In 10% cases, they took time off their work during wives' sickness and helped in household work. Consultation within a week was 100%. The husbands' knowledge regarding the safe period was inadequate. Majority (78%) said that women remained ill more often. Most wives were satisfied with the role of their husbands during their pregnancy or illness. A majority (80%) of husbands favored education of women up to the 10th standard and 87% were in favor of working women.
Conclusion:
Reasonably favorable attitude of husbands towards their wives' health problems was witnessed. This needs to the carefully nurtured.
doi:10.4103/0970-0218.39238
PMCID: PMC2782222  PMID: 19966991
Pregnancy; safe periods; husband
22.  The perspectives of clients and unqualified allopathic practitioners on the management of delivery care in urban slums, Dhaka, Bangladesh - a mixed method study 
Background
BRAC is implementing a program to improve maternal and newborn health among the urban poor in the slums of Bangladesh (Mansohi), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Formative research has demonstrated that unqualified allopathic practitioners (UAPs) are commonly assisting home-delivery. The objective of this study was to explore the role of unqualified allopathic practitioners during home delivery in urban slums of Dhaka.
Methods
This cross-sectional study was conducted between September 2008 and June 2009 in Kamrangirchar slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Through a door-to-door household survey, quantitative data were collected from 463 women with a home birth and/or trial of labor at home. We also conducted seven in-depth interviews with the UAPs to explore their practices.
Results
About one-third (32%) of the 463 women interviewed sought delivery care from a UAP. We did not find an association between socio-demographic characteristics and care-seeking from a UAP, except for education of women. Compared to women with three or more pregnancies, the highest odds ratio was found in the primi-gravidity group [odds ratio (OR): 3.46; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.65-7.25)], followed by women with two pregnancies (OR: 2.54; 95% CI: 1.36-4.77) to use a UAP. Of women who reported at least one delivery-related complication, 45.2% received care from the UAPs. Of 149 cases where the UAP was involved with delivery care, 133 (89.3%) received medicine to start or increase labor with only 6% (9 of 149) referred by a UAP to any health facility. The qualitative findings showed that UAPs provided a variety of medicines to manage excessive bleeding immediately after childbirth.
Conclusion
There is demand among slum women for delivery-related care from UAPs during home births in Bangladesh. Some UAPs' practices are contrary to current World Health Organization recommendations and could be harmful. Programs need to develop interventions to address these practices to improve perinatal care outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-50
PMCID: PMC2940791  PMID: 20822521
23.  Alternative Strategies to Reduce Maternal Mortality in India: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000264.
A cost-effectiveness study by Sue Goldie and colleagues finds that better family planning, provision of safe abortion, and improved intrapartum and emergency obstetrical care could reduce maternal mortality in India by 75% in 5 years.
Background
Approximately one-quarter of all pregnancy- and delivery-related maternal deaths worldwide occur in India. Taking into account the costs, feasibility, and operational complexity of alternative interventions, we estimate the clinical and population-level benefits associated with strategies to improve the safety of pregnancy and childbirth in India.
Methods and Findings
Country- and region-specific data were synthesized using a computer-based model that simulates the natural history of pregnancy (both planned and unintended) and pregnancy- and childbirth-associated complications in individual women; and considers delivery location, attendant, and facility level. Model outcomes included clinical events, population measures, costs, and cost-effectiveness ratios. Separate models were adapted to urban and rural India using survey-based data (e.g., unmet need for birth spacing/limiting, facility births, skilled birth attendants). Model validation compared projected maternal indicators with empiric data. Strategies consisted of improving coverage of effective interventions that could be provided individually or packaged as integrated services, could reduce the incidence of a complication or its case fatality rate, and could include improved logistics such as reliable transport to an appropriate referral facility as well as recognition of referral need and quality of care. Increasing family planning was the most effective individual intervention to reduce pregnancy-related mortality. If over the next 5 y the unmet need for spacing and limiting births was met, more than 150,000 maternal deaths would be prevented; more than US$1 billion saved; and at least one of every two abortion-related deaths averted. Still, reductions in maternal mortality reached a threshold (∼23%–35%) without including strategies that ensured reliable access to intrapartum and emergency obstetrical care (EmOC). An integrated and stepwise approach was identified that would ultimately prevent four of five maternal deaths; this approach coupled stepwise improvements in family planning and safe abortion with consecutively implemented strategies that incrementally increased skilled attendants, improved antenatal/postpartum care, shifted births away from home, and improved recognition of referral need, transport, and availability/quality of EmOC. The strategies in this approach ranged from being cost-saving to having incremental cost-effectiveness ratios less than US$500 per year of life saved (YLS), well below India's per capita gross domestic product (GDP), a common benchmark for cost-effectiveness.
Conclusions
Early intensive efforts to improve family planning and control of fertility choices and to provide safe abortion, accompanied by a paced systematic and stepwise effort to scale up capacity for integrated maternal health services over several years, is as cost-effective as childhood immunization or treatment of malaria, tuberculosis, or HIV. In just 5 y, more than 150,000 maternal deaths would be averted through increasing contraception rates to meet women's needs for spacing and limiting births; nearly US$1.5 billion would be saved by coupling safe abortion to aggressive family planning efforts; and with stepwise investments to improve access to pregnancy-related health services and to high-quality facility-based intrapartum care, more than 75% of maternal deaths could be prevented. If accomplished over the next decade, the lives of more than one million women would be saved.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, more than half a million women—most of them living in developing countries—die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications. About a quarter of these “maternal” deaths occur in India. In 2005, a woman's lifetime risk of maternal death in India was 1 in 70; in the UK, it was only one in 8,200. Similarly, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR; number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) in India was 450, whereas in the UK it was eight. Faced with the enormous maternal death toll in India and other developing countries, in September 2000, the United Nations pledged, as its fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 5), that the global MMR would be reduced to a quarter of its 1990 level by 2015. Currently, it seems unlikely that this target will be met. Between 1990 and 2005, global maternal deaths decreased by only 1% per annum instead of the 5% needed to reach MDG 5; in India, the decrease in maternal deaths between 1990 and 2005 was about 1.8% per annum.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most maternal deaths in developing countries are caused by severe bleeding after childbirth, infections soon after delivery, blood pressure disorders during pregnancy, and obstructed (difficult) labors. Consequently, experts agree that universal access to high-quality routine care during labor (“obstetric” care) and to emergency obstetrical care is needed to reduce maternal deaths. However, there is less agreement about how to adapt these “ideal recommendations” to specific situations. In developing countries with weak health systems and predominantly rural populations, it is unlikely that all women will have access to emergency obstetric care in the near future—so would beginning with improved access to family planning and to safe abortions (unsafe abortion is another major cause of maternal death) be a more achievable, more cost-effective way of reducing maternal deaths? How would family planning and safe abortion be coupled efficiently and cost-effectively with improved access to intrapartum care? In this study, the researchers investigate these questions by estimating the health and economic outcomes of various strategies to reduce maternal mortality in India.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a computer-based model that simulates women through pregnancy and childbirth to estimate the effect of different strategies (for example, increased family planning or increased access to obstetric care) on clinical outcomes (pregnancies, live births, or deaths), costs, and cost-effectiveness (the cost of saving one year of life) in India. Increased family planning was the most effective single intervention for the reduction of pregnancy-related mortality. If the current unmet need for family planning in India could be fulfilled over the next 5 years, more than 150,000 maternal deaths would be prevented, more than US$1 billion saved, and at least half of abortion-related deaths averted. However, increased family planning alone would reduce maternal deaths by 35% at most, so the researchers also used their model to test the effect of combinations of strategies on maternal death. They found that an integrated and stepwise approach (increased family planning and safe abortion combined with consecutively increased skilled birth attendants, improved care before and after birth, reduced home births, and improved emergency obstetric care) could eventually prevent nearly 80% of maternal deaths. All the steps in this strategy either saved money or involved an additional cost per year of life saved of less than US$500; given one suggested threshold for cost-effectiveness in India of the per capita GDP (US$1,068) per year of life saved, these strategies would be considered very cost-effective.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The accuracy of these findings depends on the assumptions used to build the model and the quality of the data fed into it. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that early intensive efforts to improve family planning and to provide safe abortion accompanied by a systematic, stepwise effort to improve integrated maternal health services could reduce maternal deaths in India by more than 75% in less than a decade. Furthermore, such a strategy would be cost-effective. Indeed, note the researchers, the cost savings from an initial focus on family planning and safe abortion provision would partly offset the resources needed to assure that every woman had access to high quality routine and emergency obstetric care. Thus, overall, these findings suggest that MDG 5 may be within reach in India, a conclusion that should help to mobilize political support for this worthy goal.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000264.
UNICEF (the United Nations Children's Fund) provides information on maternal mortality, including the WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA/The World Bank 2005 country estimates of maternal mortality
The World Health Organization also provides information on maternal health and about MDG 5 (in several languages)
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals Web site provides detailed information about the Millennium Declaration, the MDGs, their targets and their indicators, and about MDG 5.
The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009 and its progress chart provide an up-to-date assessment of progress toward all the MDGs
Computer simulation modeling as applied to health is further discussed at the Center for Health Decision Science at Harvard University
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000264
PMCID: PMC2857650  PMID: 20421922
24.  Reasons rural Laotians choose home deliveries over delivery at health facilities: a qualitative study 
Background
Maternal mortality among poor rural women in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is among the highest in Southeast Asia, in part because only 15% give birth at health facilities. This study explored why women and their families prefer home deliveries to deliveries at health facilities.
Methods
A qualitative study was conducted from December 2008 to February 2009 in two provinces of Lao PDR. Data was collected through eight focus group discussions (FGD) as well as through in-depth interviews with 12 mothers who delivered at home during the last year, eight husbands and eight grandmothers, involving a total of 71 respondents. Content analysis was used to analyze the FGD and interview transcripts.
Results
Obstacles to giving birth at health facilities included: (1) Distance to the health facilities and difficulties and costs of getting there; (2) Attitudes, quality of care, and care practices at the health facilities, including a horizontal birth position, episiotomies, lack of privacy, and the presence of male staff; (3) The wish to have family members nearby and the need for women to be close to their other children and the housework; and (4) The wish to follow traditional birth practices such as giving birth in a squatting position and lying on a “hot bed” after delivery. The decision about where to give birth was commonly made by the woman’s husband, mother, mother-in-law or other relatives in consultation with the woman herself.
Conclusion
This study suggests that the preference in rural Laos for giving birth at home is due to convenience, cost, comfort and tradition. In order to assure safer births and reduce rural Lao PDR’s high maternal mortality rate, health centers could consider accommodating the wishes and traditional practices of many rural Laotians: allowing family in the birthing rooms; allowing traditional practices; and improving attitudes among staff. Traditional birth attendants, women, and their families could be taught and encouraged to recognize the signs of at-risk pregnancies so as to be able to reach health facilities on time.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-86
PMCID: PMC3449206  PMID: 22925107
25.  Operations research to add postpartum family planning to maternal and neonatal health to improve birth spacing in Sylhet District, Bangladesh 
This quasi-experimental study integrated family planning, including the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, into community-based maternal and newborn health care and encouraged transition to other modern methods after 6 months to increase birth-to-pregnancy intervals. Community-based distribution of pills, condoms, and injectables, and referral for clinical methods, was added to meet women's demand.
This quasi-experimental study integrated family planning, including the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, into community-based maternal and newborn health care and encouraged transition to other modern methods after 6 months to increase birth-to-pregnancy intervals. Community-based distribution of pills, condoms, and injectables, and referral for clinical methods, was added to meet women's demand.
ABSTRACT
Background:
Short birth intervals are associated with increased risk of adverse maternal and neonatal health (MNH) outcomes. Improving postpartum contraceptive use is an important programmatic strategy to improve the health and well-being of women, newborns, and children. This article documents the intervention package and evaluation design of a study conducted in a rural district of Bangladesh to evaluate the effects of an integrated, community-based MNH and postpartum family planning program on contraceptive use and birth-interval lengths.
Intervention:
The study integrated family planning counseling within 5 community health worker (CHW)-household visits to pregnant and postpartum women, while a community mobilizer (CM) led community meetings on the importance of postpartum family planning and pregnancy spacing for maternal and child health. The CM and the CHWs emphasized 3 messages: (1) Use of the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) during the first 6 months postpartum and transition to another modern contraceptive method; (2) Exclusive, rather than fully or nearly fully, breastfeeding to support LAM effectiveness and good infant breastfeeding practices; (3) Use of a modern contraceptive method after a live birth for at least 24 months before attempting another pregnancy (a birth-to-birth interval of about 3 years) to support improved infant health and nutrition. CHWs provided only family planning counseling in the original study design, but we later added community-based distribution of methods, and referrals for clinical methods, to meet women's demand.
Methods:
Using a quasi-experimental design, and relying primarily on pre/post-household surveys, we selected pregnant women from 4 unions to receive the intervention (n = 2,280) and pregnant women from 4 other unions (n = 2,290) to serve as the comparison group. Enrollment occurred between 2007 and 2009, and data collection ended in January 2013.
Preliminary Results:
Formative research showed that women and their family members generally did not perceive birth spacing as a priority, and most recently delivered women were not using contraception. At baseline, women in the intervention and comparison groups were similar in terms of age, husband's education, religion, and parity. CHWs visited over 90% of women in both intervention and comparison groups during pregnancy and the first 3 months postpartum.
Discussion:
This article provides helpful intervention-design details for program managers intending to add postpartum family planning services to community-based MNH programs. Outcomes of the intervention will be reported in a future paper. Preliminary findings indicate that the package of 5 CHW visits was feasible and did not compromise worker performance. Adding doorstep delivery of contraceptives to the intervention package may enhance impact.
doi:10.9745/GHSP-D-13-00002
PMCID: PMC4168577  PMID: 25276538

Results 1-25 (1321274)