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1.  Effectiveness of an integrated approach to reduce perinatal mortality: recent experiences from Matlab, Bangladesh 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:914.
Background
Improving perinatal health is the key to achieving the Millennium Development Goal for child survival. Recently, several reviews suggest that scaling up available effective perinatal interventions in an integrated approach can substantially reduce the stillbirth and neonatal death rates worldwide. We evaluated the effect of packaged interventions given in pregnancy, delivery and post-partum periods through integration of community- and facility-based services on perinatal mortality.
Methods
This study took advantage of an ongoing health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) and a new Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Project initiated in 2007 in Matlab, Bangladesh in half (intervention area) of the HDSS area. In the other half, women received usual care through the government health system (comparison area). The MNCH Project strengthened ongoing maternal and child health services as well as added new services. The intervention followed a continuum of care model for pregnancy, intrapartum, and post-natal periods by improving established links between community- and facility-based services. With a separate pre-post samples design, we compared the perinatal mortality rates between two periods--before (2005-2006) and after (2008-2009) implementation of MNCH interventions. We also evaluated the difference-of-differences in perinatal mortality between intervention and comparison areas.
Results
Antenatal coverage, facility delivery and cesarean section rates were significantly higher in the post- intervention period in comparison with the period before intervention. In the intervention area, the odds of perinatal mortality decreased by 36% between the pre-intervention and post-intervention periods (odds ratio: 0.64; 95% confidence intervals: 0.52-0.78). The reduction in the intervention area was also significant relative to the reduction in the comparison area (OR 0.73, 95% CI: 0.56-0.95; P = 0.018).
Conclusion
The continuum of care approach provided through the integration of service delivery modes decreased the perinatal mortality rate within a short period of time. Further testing of this model is warranted within the government health system in Bangladesh and other low-income countries.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-914
PMCID: PMC3257323  PMID: 22151276
2.  Causes of Maternal Mortality Decline in Matlab, Bangladesh 
Bangladesh is distinct among developing countries in achieving a low maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 322 per 100,000 livebirths despite the very low use of skilled care at delivery (13% nationally). This variation has also been observed in Matlab, a rural area in Bangladesh, where longitudinal data on maternal mortality are available since the mid-1970s. The current study investigated the possible causes of the maternal mortality decline in Matlab. The study analyzed 769 maternal deaths and 215,779 pregnancy records from the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) and other sources of safe motherhood data in the ICDDR,B and government service areas in Matlab during 1976-2005. The major interventions that took place in both the areas since the early 1980s were the family-planning programme plus safe menstrual regulation services and safe motherhood interventions (midwives for normal delivery in the ICDDR,B service area from the late 1980s and equal access to comprehensive emergency obstetric care [EmOC] in public facilities for women from both the areas). National programmes for social development and empowerment of women through education and microcredit programmes were implemented in both the areas. The quantitative findings were supplemented by a qualitative study by interviewing local community care providers for their change in practices for maternal healthcare over time. After the introduction of the safe motherhood programme, reduction in maternal mortality was higher in the ICDDR,B service area (68.6%) than in the government service area (50.4%) during 1986-1989 and 2001-2005. Reduction in the number of maternal deaths due to the fertility decline was higher in the government service area (30%) than in the ICDDR,B service area (23%) during 1979-2005. In each area, there has been substantial reduction in abortion-related mortality—86.7% and 78.3%—in the ICDDR,B and government service areas respectively. Education of women was a strong predictor of the maternal mortality decline in both the areas. Possible explanations for the maternal mortality decline in Matlab are: better access to comprehensive EmOC services, reduction in the total fertility rate, and improved education of women. To achieve the Millenium Development Goal 5 targets, policies that bring further improved comprehensive EmOC, strengthened family-planning services, and expanded education of females are essential.
PMCID: PMC2761779  PMID: 19489410
Causes of death; Delivery; Health services; Health facilities; Healthcare; Maternal health; Maternal mortality; Obstetric care; Risk factors; Bangladesh
3.  Does health intervention improve socioeconomic inequalities of neonatal, infant and child mortality? Evidence from Matlab, Bangladesh 
Background
Although there are wide variations in mortality between developed and developing countries, socioeconomic inequalities in health exist in both the societies. The study examined socioeconomic inequalities of neonatal, infant and child mortality using data from the Matlab Health and Demographic Surveillance System of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B).
Methods
Four birth cohorts (1983–85, 1988–90, 1993–95, 1998–00) were followed for five years for death and out-migration in two adjacent areas (ICDDR,B-service and government-service) with similar socioeconomic but differ health services. Based on asset quintiles, inequality was measured through both poor-rich ratio and concentration index.
Results
The study found that the socioeconomic inequalities of neonatal, infant and under-five mortality increased over time in both the ICDDR,B-service and government-service areas but it declined substantially for 1–4 years in the ICDDR,B- service area.
Conclusion
The study concluded that usual health intervention programs (non-targeted) do not reduce poor-rich gap, rather the gap increases initially but might decrease in long run if the program is very intensive.
doi:10.1186/1475-9276-6-4
PMCID: PMC1894794  PMID: 17547776
4.  Missed Opportunities: Barriers to HIV Testing during Pregnancy from a Population Based Cohort Study in Rural Uganda 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e37590.
The aim was to assess population-level HIV-testing uptake among pregnant women, key for access to prevention-of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services, and to identify risk factors for not being HIV tested,
The study was conducted May 2008–May 2010 in the Iganga/Mayuge Health and Demographic Surveillance Site (HDSS), Eastern Uganda, during regular surveillance of 68,000 individuals. All women identified to be pregnant May–July 2008 (n = 881) were interviewed about pregnancy-related issues and linked to the HDSS database for socio-demographic data. Women were followed-up via antenatal care (ANC) register reviews at the health facilities to collect data related to ANC services received, including HIV testing. Adjusted relative risk (aRR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for not being HIV tested were calculated using multivariable binomial regression among the 544 women who remained after record review.
Despite high ANC attendance (96%), the coverage of HIV testing was 64%. Only 6% of pregnant women who sought ANC at a facility without HIV testing services were referred for testing and only 20% received counseling regarding HIV. At ANC facilities with HIV testing services, 85% were tested. Only 4% of the women tested had been couple tested for HIV. Living more than three kilometers away from a health facility with HIV testing services was associated with not being tested both among the poorest (aRR,CI; 1.44,1.02–2.04) and the least poor women (aRR,CI;1.72,1.12–2.63).
The lack of onsite HIV testing services and distant ANC facilities lead to missed opportunities for PMTCT, especially for the poorest women. Referral systems for HIV testing need to be improved and testing should be expanded to lower level health facilities. This is in order to ensure that the policy of HIV testing during pregnancy is implemented more effectively and that testing is accessible for all.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037590
PMCID: PMC3420922  PMID: 22916089
5.  Household Costs of Healthcare during Pregnancy, Delivery, and the Postpartum Period: A Case Study from Matlab, Bangladesh 
A household survey was undertaken in Matlab, a rural area of Bangladesh, to estimate the costs incurred during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period for women delivering at home and in a health facility. Those interviewed included 121 women who delivered at home, 120 who delivered in an ICDDR,B basic obstetric care (BEOC) facility, 27 who delivered in a public comprehensive obstetric care (CEOC) hospital, and 58 who delivered in private hospitals. There was no significant difference in total costs incurred by those delivering at home and those delivering in a BEOC facility. Costs for those delivering in CEOC facilities were over nine times greater than for those delivering in BEOC facilities. Costs of care during delivery were predominant. Antenatal and postnatal care added between 7% and 30% to the total cost. Services were more equitable at home and in a BEOC facility compared to services provided at CEOC facilities. The study highlights the regressive nature of the financing of CEOC services and the need for a financing strategy that covers both the costs of referral and BEOC care for those in need.
PMCID: PMC3001148  PMID: 17591341
Healthcare costs; Health expenditure; Pregnancy; Childbirth; Health equity; Retrospective studies; Bangladesh
6.  Performance of the Lot Quality Assurance Sampling Method Compared to Surveillance for Identifying Inadequately-performing Areas in Matlab, Bangladesh 
This paper compared the performance of the lot quality assurance sampling (LQAS) method in identifying inadequately-performing health work-areas with that of using health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) data and examined the feasibility of applying the method by field-level programme supervisors. The study was carried out in Matlab, the field site of ICDDR,B, where a HDSS has been in place for over 30 years. The LQAS method was applied in 57 work-areas of community health workers in ICDDR,B-served areas in Matlab during July-September 2002. The performance of the LQAS method in identifying work-areas with adequate and inadequate coverage of various health services was compared with those of the HDSS. The health service-coverage indicators included coverage of DPT, measles, BCG vaccination, and contraceptive use. It was observed that the difference in the proportion of work-areas identified to be inadequately performing using the LQAS method with less than 30 respondents, and the HDSS was not statistically significant. The consistency between the LQAS method and the HDSS in identifying work-areas was greater for adequately-performing areas than inadequately-performing areas. It was also observed that the field managers could be trained to apply the LQAS method in monitoring their performance in reaching the target population.
PMCID: PMC3013262  PMID: 17615902
Lot quality assurance sampling; Immunization; Health; Family planning; Comparative studies; Bangladesh
7.  Care seeking for fatal illness episodes in Neonates: a population-based study in rural Bangladesh 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:88.
Background
Poor neonatal health is a major contributor to under-five mortality in developing countries. A major constraint to effective neonatal survival programme has been the lack of population level data in developing countries. This study investigated the consultation patterns of caregivers during neonatal fatal illness episodes in the rural Matlab sub-district of eastern Bangladesh.
Methods
Neonatal deaths were identified through a population-based demographic surveillance system in Matlab ICDDR,B maternal and child health (MCH) project area and an adjoining government service area. Trained project staff administered a structured questionnaire on care seeking to mothers at home who had experienced a neonatal death. Univariate, bivariate and binary multivariate logistic regressions were performed to describe care seeking during the fatal illness episode.
Results
Of the 365 deaths recorded during 2003 and 2004, 84% died in the early (0-7 days) neonatal period, with the remaining deaths occurring over the subsequent 8 to 28 days. The first resort of care by parents was a qualified doctor or paramedic in 37% of cases, followed by traditional and unqualified health care providers in 25%, while 38% sought no care. Thus, almost two thirds (63%) of neonates who died received only traditional and unqualified care or no care at all during their final illness episode. About 22% sought care from more than one provider, including 6% from 3 or more providers. Such plurality in care seeking was more likely among male infants, in the late neonatal period, and in the MCH project area.
Conclusions
The high proportion of neonatal deaths that had received traditional care or no medical care in a rural area of Bangladesh highlights the need to develop community awareness about prompt medical care seeking for neonatal illnesses and to improve access to effective health care. Integration of traditional care providers into mainstream health programs should also be considered.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-88
PMCID: PMC3204238  PMID: 21999253
8.  Lesotho's Minimum PMTCT Package: lessons learned for combating vertical HIV transmission using co-packaged medicines 
Introduction
Mother-to-child transmission of HIV can be reduced to<5% with appropriate antiretroviral medications. Such reductions depend on multiple health system encounters during antenatal care (ANC), delivery and breastfeeding; in countries with limited access to care, transmission remains high. In Lesotho, where 28% of women attending ANC are HIV positive but where geographic and other factors limit access to ANC and facility deliveries, a Minimum PMTCT Package was launched in 2007 as an alternative to the existing facility-based approach. Distributed at the first ANC visit, it packaged together all necessary pregnancy, delivery and early postnatal antiretroviral medications for mother and infant.
Methods
To examine the availability, feasibility, acceptability and possible negative consequences of the Minimum PMTCT Package, data from a 2009 qualitative and quantitative study and a 2010 facility assessment were used. To examine the effects on ANC and facility-based delivery rates, a difference-in-differences analytic approach was applied to 2009 Demographic and Health Survey data for HIV-tested women who gave birth before and after Minimum PMTCT Package implementation.
Results
The Minimum PMTCT Package was feasible and acceptable to providers and clients. Problems with test kit and medicine stock-outs occurred, and 46% of women did not receive the Minimum PMTCT Package until at least their second ANC visit. Providing adequate instruction on the use of multiple medications represented a challenge. The proportion of HIV-positive women delivering in facilities declined after Minimum PMTCT Package implementation, although it increased among HIV-negative women (difference-in-differences=14.5%, p=0.05). The mean number of ANC visits declined more among HIV-positive women than among HIV-negative women after implementation, though the difference was not statistically significant (p=0.09). Changes in the percentage of women receiving≥4 ANC visits did not differ between the two groups.
Conclusions
If supply issues can be resolved and adequate client educational materials provided, take-away co-packages have the potential to increase access to PMTCT commodities in countries where women have limited access to health services. However, efforts must be made to carefully monitor potential changes in ANC visits and facility deliveries, and further evaluation of adherence, safety and effectiveness are needed.
doi:10.7448/IAS.15.2.17326
PMCID: PMC3531330  PMID: 23273267
mother-to-child transmission of HIV; PMTCT; Lesotho; HIV/AIDS; co-packaging; Minimum PMTCT Package
9.  Factors associated with antenatal care adequacy in rural and urban contexts-results from two health and demographic surveillance sites in Vietnam 
Background
Antenatal Care (ANC) is universally considered important for women and children. This study aims to identify factors, demographic, social and economic, possibly associated with three ANC indicators: number of visits, timing of visits and content of services. The aim is also to compare the patterns of association of such factors between one rural and one urban context in northern Vietnam.
Methods
Totally 2,132 pregnant women were followed from identification of pregnancy until birth in two Health and Demographic Surveillance Sites (HDSS). Information was obtained through quarterly face to face interviews.
Results
Living in the rural area was significantly associated with lower adequate use of ANC compared to living in the urban area, both regarding quantity (number and timing of visits) and content. Low education, living in poor households and exclusively using private sector ANC in both sites and self employment, becoming pregnant before 25 years of age and living in poor communities in the rural area turned out to increase the risk for overall inadequate ANC. High risk pregnancy could not be demonstrated to be associated with ANC adequacy in either site. The medical content of services offered was often inadequate, in relation to the national recommendations, especially in the private sector.
Conclusion
Low education, low economic status, exclusive use of private ANC and living in rural areas were main factors associated with risk for overall inadequate ANC use as related to the national recommendations. Therefore, interventions focussing on poor and less educated women, especially in rural areas should be prioritized. They should focus the importance of early attendance of ANC and sufficient use of core services. Financial support for poor and near poor women should be considered. Providers of ANC should be educated and otherwise influenced to provide sufficient core services. Adherence to ANC content guidelines must be improved through enhanced supervision, particularly in the private sector.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-40
PMCID: PMC3305637  PMID: 22335834
Antenatal care; Socio-economic determinants; Adequacy; Urban and rural; Vietnam
10.  The Influence of Distance and Level of Service Provision on Antenatal Care Use in Rural Zambia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46475.
Background
Antenatal care (ANC) presents important opportunities to reach women with crucial interventions. Studies on determinants of ANC use often focus on household and individual factors; few investigate the role of health service factors, partly due to lack of appropriate data. We assessed how distance to facilities and level of service provision at ANC facilities in Zambia influenced the number and timing of ANC visits and the quality of care received.
Methods and Findings
Using the 2005 Zambian national Health Facility Census, we classified ANC facilities according to the level of service provision. In a geographic information system, we linked the facility information to household data from the 2007 DHS to calculate straight-line distances. We performed multivariable multilevel logistic regression on 2405 rural births to investigate the influence of distance to care and of level of provision on three aspects of ANC use: attendance of at least four visits, visit in first trimester and receipt of quality ANC (4+ visits with skilled health worker and 8+ interventions).
We found no effect of distance on timing of ANC or number of visits, and better level of provision at the closest facility was not associated with either earlier ANC attendance or higher number of visits. However, there was a strong influence of both distance to a facility, and level of provision at the closest ANC facility on the quality of ANC received; for each 10 km increase in distance, the odds of women receiving good quality ANC decreased by a quarter, while each increase in the level of provision category of the closest facility was associated with a 54% increase in the odds of receiving good quality ANC.
Conclusions
To improve ANC quality received by mothers, efforts should focus on improving the level of services provided at ANC facilities and their accessibility.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046475
PMCID: PMC3464293  PMID: 23056319
11.  Use of antenatal services and delivery care among women in rural western Kenya: a community based survey 
Background
Improving maternal health is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals. We assessed provision and use of antenatal services and delivery care among women in rural Kenya to determine whether women were receiving appropriate care.
Methods
Population-based cross-sectional survey among women who had recently delivered.
Results
Of 635 participants, 90% visited the antenatal clinic (ANC) at least once during their last pregnancy (median number of visits 4). Most women (64%) first visited the ANC in the third trimester; a perceived lack of quality in the ANC was associated with a late first ANC visit (Odds ratio [OR] 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0–2.4). Women who did not visit an ANC were more likely to have < 8 years of education (adjusted OR [AOR] 3.0, 95% CI 1.5–6.0), and a low socio-economic status (SES) (AOR 2.8, 95% CI 1.5–5.3). The ANC provision of abdominal palpation, tetanus vaccination and weight measurement were high (>90%), but provision of other services was low, e.g. malaria prevention (21%), iron (53%) and folate (44%) supplementation, syphilis testing (19.4%) and health talks (14.4%). Eighty percent of women delivered outside a health facility; among these, traditional birth attendants assisted 42%, laypersons assisted 36%, while 22% received no assistance. Factors significantly associated with giving birth outside a health facility included: age ≥ 30 years, parity ≥ 5, low SES, < 8 years of education, and > 1 hour walking distance from the health facility. Women who delivered unassisted were more likely to be of parity ≥ 5 (AOR 5.7, 95% CI 2.8–11.6).
Conclusion
In this rural area, usage of the ANC was high, but this opportunity to deliver important health services was not fully utilized. Use of professional delivery services was low, and almost 1 out of 5 women delivered unassisted. There is an urgent need to improve this dangerous situation.
doi:10.1186/1742-4755-3-2
PMCID: PMC1459114  PMID: 16597344
12.  Profile of Maternal and Foetal Complications during Labour and Delivery among Women Giving Birth in Hospitals in Matlab and Chandpur, Bangladesh 
Worldwide, for an estimated 358,000 women, pregnancy and childbirth end in death and mourning, and beyond these maternal deaths, 9-10% of pregnant women or about 14 million women per year suffer from acute maternal complications. This paper documents the types and severity of maternal and foetal complications among women who gave birth in hospitals in Matlab and Chandpur, Bangladesh, during 2007-2008. The Community Health Research Workers (CHRWs) of the icddr,b service area in Matlab prospectively collected data for the study from 4,817 women on their places of delivery and pregnancy outcomes. Of them, 3,010 (62.5%) gave birth in different hospitals in Matlab and/or Chandpur and beyond. Review of hospital-records was attempted for 2,102 women who gave birth only in the Matlab Hospital of icddr,b and in other public and private hospitals in the Matlab and Chandpur area. Among those, 1,927 (91.7%) records were found and reviewed by a physician. By reviewing the hospital-records, 7.3% of the women (n=1,927) who gave birth in the local hospitals were diagnosed with a severe maternal complication, and 16.1% with a less-severe maternal complication. Abortion cases—either spontaneous or induced—were excluded from the analysis. Over 12% of all births were delivered by caesarean section (CS). For a substantial proportion (12.5%) of CS, no clear medical indication was recorded in the hospital-register. Twelve maternal deaths occurred during the study period; most (83%) of them had been in contact with a hospital before death. Recommendations include standardization of the hospital record-keeping system, proper monitoring of indications of CS, and introduction of maternal death audit for further improvement of the quality of care in public and private hospitals in rural Bangladesh.
PMCID: PMC3397325  PMID: 22838156
Caesarean section; Delivery; Foetal complications; Hospitals; Maternal complications; Maternal mortality; Perinatal mortality; Record-keeping; Bangladesh
13.  Comprehensive Approach to Improving Maternal Health and Achieving MDG 5: Report from the Mountains of Lesotho 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42700.
Background
Although it is now widely recognized that reductions in maternal mortality and improvements in women's health cannot be achieved through simple, vertical strategies, few programs have provided successful models for how to integrate services into a comprehensive program for maternal health. We report our experience in rural Lesotho, where Partners In Health (PIH) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare implemented a program that provides comprehensive care of pregnant women from the community to the clinic level.
Methods
Between May and July 2009, PIH trained 100 women, many of whom were former traditional birth attendants, to serve as clinic-affiliated maternal health workers. They received performance-based incentives for accompanying pregnant women during antenatal care (ANC) visits and facility-based delivery. A nurse-midwife provided ANC and delivery care and supervised the maternal health workers. To overcome geographic barriers to delivering at the clinic, women who lived far from the clinic stayed at a maternal lying-in house prior to their expected delivery dates. We analyzed data routinely collected from delivery and ANC registers to compare service utilization before and after implementation of the program.
Results
After the establishment of the program, the average number first ANC visits increased from 20 to 31 per month. The clinic recorded 178 deliveries in the first year of the program and 216 in the second year, compared to 46 in the year preceding the program. During the first two years of the program, 49 women with complications were successfully transported to the district hospital, and no maternal deaths occurred among the women served by the program.
Conclusions
Our results demonstrate that it is possible to achieve dramatic improvements in the utilization of maternal health services and facility-based delivery by strengthening human resource capacity, implementing active follow-up in the community, and de-incentivizing home births.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042700
PMCID: PMC3428338  PMID: 22952607
14.  Comparison of HIV prevalence estimates from antenatal care surveillance and population-based surveys in sub-Saharan Africa 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2008;84(Suppl_1):i78-i84.
Objective:
To compare HIV seroprevalence estimates obtained from antenatal care (ANC) sentinel surveillance surveys in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda with those from population-based demographic and health surveys (DHS) and AIDS indicator surveys (AIS).
Methods:
Geographical information system methods were used to map ANC surveillance sites and DHS/AIS survey clusters within a 15-km radius of the ANC sites. National DHS/AIS HIV prevalence estimates for women and men were compared with national prevalence estimates from ANC surveillance. DHS/AIS HIV prevalence estimates for women and men residing within 15 km of ANC sites were compared with those from ANC surveillance. For women, these comparisons were also stratified by current pregnancy status, experience of recent childbirth and receiving ANC for the last birth.
Results:
In four of the five countries, national DHS/AIS estimates of HIV prevalence were lower than the ANC surveillance estimates. Comparing women and men in the catchment areas of the ANC sites, the DHS/AIS estimates were similar to ANC surveillance estimates. DHS/AIS estimates for men residing in the catchment areas of ANC sites were much lower than ANC surveillance estimates for women in all cases. ANC estimates were higher for younger women than DHS/AIS estimates for women in ANC catchment areas, but lower at older ages. In all cases, urban prevalence was higher than rural prevalence but there were no consistent patterns by education.
Conclusions:
ANC surveillance surveys tend to overestimate HIV prevalence compared to prevalence among women in the general population in DHS/AIS surveys. However, the ANC and DHS/AIS estimates are similar when restricted to women and men, or to women only, residing in catchment areas of ANC sites. Patterns by age and urban/rural residence suggest possible bias in the ANC estimates.
doi:10.1136/sti.2008.030106
PMCID: PMC2569136  PMID: 18647871
15.  Measuring Coverage in MNCH: Testing the Validity of Women's Self-Report of Key Maternal and Newborn Health Interventions during the Peripartum Period in Mozambique 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e60694.
Background
As low-income countries strive to meet targets for Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, there is growing need to track coverage and quality of high-impact peripartum interventions. At present, nationally representative household surveys conducted in low-income settings primarily measure contact with the health system, shedding little light on content or quality of care. The objective of this study is to validate the ability of women in Mozambique to report on facility-based care they and their newborns received during labor and one hour postpartum.
Methods and Findings
The study involved household interviews with women in Mozambique whose births were observed eight to ten months previously as part of a survey of the quality of maternal and newborn care at government health facilities. Of 487 women whose births were observed and who agreed to a follow-up interview, 304 were interviewed (62.4%). The validity of 34 indicators was tested using two measures: area under receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC) and inflation factor (IF); 27 indicators had sufficient numbers for robust analysis, of which four met acceptability criteria for both (AUC >0.6 and 0.75
Conclusions
Women are able to report on some aspects of peripartum care. Larger studies may be able to validate some indicators that this study could not assess due to the sample size. Future qualitative research may assist in improving question formulation for some indicators. Studies of similar design in other low-income settings are needed to confirm these results.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060694
PMCID: PMC3646219  PMID: 23667427
BMC Public Health  2012;12:913.
Background
Data from a statewide survey in India and clinic-based studies in developed settings have previously suggested an association between maternal physical intimate partner violence (IPV) experiences and the low use of antenatal care (ANC). This study aimed to explore the association between maternal experiences of physical and sexual IPV and the use of reproductive health care services, using a large nationally representative data set from Bangladesh.
Methods
This paper used data from the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey. The analyses were based on the responses of 2001currently married women living with at least one child younger than 5 years. Exposure was determined from maternal reports of physical and sexual IPV. The utilization of ANC according to amount and type of provider and utilization of delivery assistance according to provider type were used as proxy outcome variables for reproductive health care utilization. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression analysis used in the study.
Results
Approximately two out of four (48.2%) respondents had experienced physical IPV. Maternal experience of physical IPV was associated with low use of receiving sufficient ANC (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.49–0.96), lower likelihood of receiving ANC (AOR 0.69; 95% CI 0.53–0.89), and assisted deliveries from skilled provider (AOR 0.54; 95% CI 0.37–0.78). Women who had been sexually abused were significantly less likely to have visited a skilled ANC and delivery care provider. Furthermore, severity of physical IPV appeared to have more profound consequences on the outcome measured.
Conclusions
The association between exposure to IPV and use of reproductive health care services suggests that partner violence plays a significant role in lower utilization of reproductive health services among women in Bangladesh. Our findings suggest that, in addition to a wide range of socio-demographic factors, preventing maternal physical and sexual IPV need to be considered as an important psychosocial determinates for the higher utilization of reproductive health care services in Bangladesh.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-913
PMCID: PMC3527149  PMID: 23102051
Antenatal care; Delivery assistance; Medical professional; Intimate partner violence; Bangladesh
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e60762.
Background
Accurate data on coverage of key maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) interventions are crucial for monitoring progress toward the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. Coverage estimates are primarily obtained from routine population surveys through self-reporting, the validity of which is not well understood. We aimed to examine the validity of the coverage of selected MNCH interventions in Gongcheng County, China.
Method and Findings
We conducted a validation study by comparing women’s self-reported coverage of MNCH interventions relating to antenatal and postnatal care, mode of delivery, and child vaccinations in a community survey with their paper- and electronic-based health care records, treating the health care records as the reference standard. Of 936 women recruited, 914 (97.6%) completed the survey. Results show that self-reported coverage of these interventions had moderate to high sensitivity (0.57 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.50–0.63] to 0.99 [95% CI: 0.98–1.00]) and low to high specificity (0 to 0.83 [95% CI: 0.80–0.86]). Despite varying overall validity, with the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) ranging between 0.49 [95% CI: 0.39–0.57] and 0.90 [95% CI: 0.88–0.92], bias in the coverage estimates at the population level was small to moderate, with the test to actual positive (TAP) ratio ranging between 0.8 and 1.5 for 24 of the 28 indicators examined. Our ability to accurately estimate validity was affected by several caveats associated with the reference standard. Caution should be exercised when generalizing the results to other settings.
Conclusions
The overall validity of self-reported coverage was moderate across selected MNCH indicators. However, at the population level, self-reported coverage appears to have small to moderate degree of bias. Accuracy of the coverage was particularly high for indicators with high recorded coverage or low recorded coverage but high specificity. The study provides insights into the accuracy of self-reports based on a population survey in low- and middle-income countries. Similar studies applying an improved reference standard are warranted in the future.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060762
PMCID: PMC3646215  PMID: 23667429
Background
Antenatal care (ANC) is one of the recommended interventions to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. Yet in most Sub-Saharan African countries, high rates of ANC coverage coexist with high maternal and neonatal mortality. This disconnect has fueled calls to focus on the quality of ANC services. However, little conceptual or empirical work exists on the measurement of ANC quality at health facilities in low-income countries. We developed a classification tool and assessed the level of ANC service provision at health facilities in Zambia on a national scale and compared this to the quality of ANC received by expectant mothers.
Methods
We analysed two national datasets with detailed antenatal provider and user information, the 2005 Zambia Health Facility Census and the 2007 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), to describe the level of ANC service provision at 1,299 antenatal facilities in 2005 and the quality of ANC received by 4,148 mothers between 2002 and 2007.
Results
We found that only 45 antenatal facilities (3%) fulfilled our developed criteria for optimum ANC service, while 47% of facilities provided adequate service, and the remaining 50% offered inadequate service. Although 94% of mothers reported at least one ANC visit with a skilled health worker and 60% attended at least four visits, only 29% of mothers received good quality ANC, and only 8% of mothers received good quality ANC and attended in the first trimester.
Conclusions
DHS data can be used to monitor “effective ANC coverage” which can be far below ANC coverage as estimated by current indicators. This “quality gap” indicates missed opportunities at ANC for delivering effective interventions. Evaluating the level of ANC provision at health facilities is an efficient way to detect where deficiencies are located in the system and could serve as a monitoring tool to evaluate country progress.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-151
PMCID: PMC3536568  PMID: 23237601
Maternal health services; Prenatal care; Health care quality; Africa South of the Sahara
BMC Public Health  2007;7:160.
Background
To present and compare population-based and antenatal-care (ANC) sentinel surveillance HIV prevalence estimates among women in a rural South African population where both provision of ANC services and family planning is prevalent and fertility is declining. With a need, in such settings, to understand how to appropriately adjust ANC sentinel surveillance estimates to represent HIV prevalence in general populations, and with evidence of possible biases inherent to both surveillance systems, we explore differences between the two systems. There is particular emphasis on unrepresentative selection of ANC clinics and unrepresentative testing in the population.
Methods
HIV sero-prevalence amongst blood samples collected from women consenting to test during the 2005 annual longitudinal population-based serological survey was compared to anonymous unlinked HIV sero-prevalence amongst women attending antenatal care (ANC) first visits in six clinics (January to May 2005). Both surveillance systems were conducted as part of the Africa Centre Demographic Information System.
Results
Population-based HIV prevalence estimates for all women (25.2%) and pregnant women (23.7%) were significantly lower than that for ANC attendees (37.7%). A large proportion of women attending urban or peri-urban clinics would be predicted to be resident within rural areas. Although overall estimates remained significantly different, presenting and standardising estimates by age and location (clinic for ANC-based estimates and individual-residence for population-based estimates) made some group-specific estimates from the two surveillance systems more predictive of one another.
Conclusion
It is likely that where ANC coverage and contraceptive use is widespread and fertility is low, population-based surveillance under-estimates HIV prevalence due to unrepresentative testing by age, residence and also probably by HIV status, and that ANC sentinel surveillance over-estimates prevalence due to selection bias in terms of age of sexual debut and contraceptive use. The results presented highlight the importance of accounting for unrepresentative testing, particularly by individual residence and age, through system design and statistical analyses.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-160
PMCID: PMC1948890  PMID: 17640354
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(2):146-156.
Aim
To evaluate the quality of antenatal care (ANC) in Hebei Province and compare it between the public and private sector and within the public sector.
Methods
We conducted a Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Household Survey in 2010 using a two-stage sampling procedure and included 1079 mothers. The quality of ANC was assessed on the basis of the number of ANC visits, the time of the first ANC visit, 16 different ANC procedures, owning a maternal health care booklet, and the type of service provider.
Results
Almost all women (98%) received ANC services at least once, 80% at least four times, and 54% at least five times. About half of the women (46%) visited ANC facility within their first trimester. Neither public nor private sector provided all 16 standardized services, but significantly more women in public sector received ANC procedures. Most women received ANC in county or higher-level hospitals (75%) and very few in township hospitals (8%). Significantly fewer women were weighed and tested for HIV/AIDS in township than in county or higher-level hospitals.
Conclusion
The quality of ANC in Hebei was poorer than required by China’s national and World Health Organization norms. Although the public sector performed better than the private sector, the utilization and quality of care of ANC services in this sector varied and women generally visited county or higher-level health facilities.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2013.54.146
PMCID: PMC3641873  PMID: 23630142
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44181.
Background
Despite strong evidence for the effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapy for improving the health of women living with HIV and for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), HIV persists as a major maternal and child health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. In most settings antenatal care (ANC) services and HIV treatment services are offered in separate clinics. Integrating these services may result in better uptake of services, reduction of the time to treatment initiation, better adherence, and reduction of stigma.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A prospective cluster randomized controlled trial design was used to evaluate the effects of integrating HIV treatment into ANC clinics at government health facilities in rural Kenya. Twelve facilities were randomized to provide either fully integrated services (ANC, PMTCT, and HIV treatment services all delivered in the ANC clinic) or non-integrated services (ANC clinics provided ANC and basic PMTCT services and referred clients to a separate HIV clinic for HIV treatment). During June 2009– March 2011, 1,172 HIV-positive pregnant women were enrolled in the study. The main study outcomes are rates of maternal enrollment in HIV care and treatment, infant HIV testing uptake, and HIV-free infant survival. Baseline results revealed that the intervention and control cohorts were similar with respect to socio-demographics, male partner HIV testing, sero-discordance of the couple, obstetric history, baseline CD4 count, and WHO Stage. Challenges faced while conducting this trial at low-resource rural health facilities included frequent staff turnover, stock-outs of essential supplies, transportation challenges, and changes in national guidelines.
Conclusions/Significance
This is the first randomized trial of ANC and HIV service integration to be conducted in rural Africa. It is expected that the study will provide critical evidence regarding the implementation and effectiveness of this service delivery strategy, with important implications for programs striving to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV and improve maternal health.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00931216 NCT00931216.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044181
PMCID: PMC3435393  PMID: 22970177
BMC Public Health  2010;10:663.
Background
MANOSHI, an integrated community-based package of essential Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) services is being implemented by BRAC in the urban slums of Bangladesh since 2007. The objective of the formative research done during the inception phase was to understand the context and existing resources available in the slums, to reduce uncertainty about anticipated effects, and develop and refine the intervention components.
Methods
Data were collected during Jan-Sept 2007 in one of the earliest sites of programme intervention in the Dhaka metropolitan area. A conceptual framework guided data collection at different stages. Besides exploring slum characteristics, studies were done to map existing MNCH service providing facilities and providers, explore existing MNCH-related practices, and make an inventory of community networks/groups with a stake in MNCH service provision. Also, initial perception and expectations regarding the community delivery centres launched by the programme was explored. Transect walk, observation, pile sorting, informal and focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, case studies, network analysis and small quantitative surveys were done to collect data.
Results
Findings reveal that though there are various MNCH services and providers available in the slums, their capacity to provide rational and quality services is questionable. Community has superficial knowledge of MNCH care and services, but this is inadequate to facilitate the optimal survival of mothers and neonates. Due to economic hardships, the slum community mainly relies on cheap informal sector for health care. Cultural beliefs and practices also reinforce this behaviour including home delivery without skilled assistance. Men and women differed in their perception of pregnancy and delivery: men were more concerned with expenses while women expressed fear of the whole process, including delivering at hospitals. People expected 'one-stop' MNCH services from the community delivery centres by skilled personnel. Social support network for health was poor compared to other networks. Referral linkages to higher facilities were inadequate, fragmentary, and disorganised.
Conclusions
Findings from formative research reduced contextual uncertainty about existing MNCH resources and care in the slum. It informed MANOSHI to build up an intervention which is relevant and responsive to the felt needs of the slum population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-663
PMCID: PMC3091574  PMID: 21044335
Background
To assess the application of cell phone integrating into the healthcare system to improve antenatal care (ANC) and expanded programme on immunization (EPI) services for the under-served population in border area.
Methods
A module combining web-based and mobile technology was developed to generate ANC/EPI visit schedule dates in which the healthcare personnel can cross-check, identify and update the mother's ANC and child's EPI status at the healthcare facility or at the household location when performing home visit; with additional feature of sending appointment reminder directly to the scheduled mother in the community.
Results
The module improved ANC/EPI coverage in the study area along the country border including for both Thai and non-Thai mothers and children who were either permanent resident or migrants; numbers of ANC and EPI visit on-time as per schedule significantly increased; there was less delay of antenatal visits and immunizations.
Conclusions
The module integrated and functioned successfully as part of the healthcare system; it is proved for its feasibility and the extent to which community healthcare personnel in the low resource setting could efficiently utilize it to perform their duties.
doi:10.1186/1472-6947-10-69
PMCID: PMC2989931  PMID: 21047412
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:209.
Background
Counselling on the danger signs of unpredictable obstetric complications and the appropriate management of such complications are crucial in reducing maternal mortality. The objectives of this study were to identify gaps in the provision of ANC services and knowledge of danger signs as well as the quality of care women receive in case of complications.
Findings
The study took place in the Rufiji District of Tanzania in 2008 and was conducted in seven health facilities. The study used (1) observations from 63 antenatal care (ANC) sessions evaluated with an ANC checklist, (2) self-assessments of 11 Health workers, (3) interviews with 28 pregnant women and (4) follow-up of 12 women hospitalized for pregnancy-related conditions.
Blood pressure measurements and abdominal examinations were common during ANC visits while urine testing for albumin or sugar or haemoglobin levels was rare which was often explained as due to a lack of supplies. The reasons for measuring blood pressure or abdominal examinations were usually not explained to the women. Only 15/28 (54%) women were able to mention at least one obstetric danger sign requiring medical attention. The outcomes of ten complicated cases were five stillbirths and three maternal complications. There was a considerable delay in first contact with a health professional or the start of timely interventions including checking vital signs, using a partograph, and detailed record keeping.
Conclusion
Linking danger signs to clinical and laboratory examination results during ANC with the appropriate follow up and avoiding delays in emergency obstetric care are crucial to the delivery of coordinated, effective care interventions.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-209
PMCID: PMC3161364  PMID: 20663202
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-34
PMCID: PMC2910658  PMID: 20594340

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