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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.
Improving perinatal health is the key to achieving the Millennium Development Goal for child survival. Recently, several reviews suggest that scaling up available effective perinatal interventions in an integrated approach can substantially reduce the stillbirth and neonatal death rates worldwide. We evaluated the effect of packaged interventions given in pregnancy, delivery and post-partum periods through integration of community- and facility-based services on perinatal mortality.
This study took advantage of an ongoing health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) and a new Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Project initiated in 2007 in Matlab, Bangladesh in half (intervention area) of the HDSS area. In the other half, women received usual care through the government health system (comparison area). The MNCH Project strengthened ongoing maternal and child health services as well as added new services. The intervention followed a continuum of care model for pregnancy, intrapartum, and post-natal periods by improving established links between community- and facility-based services. With a separate pre-post samples design, we compared the perinatal mortality rates between two periods--before (2005-2006) and after (2008-2009) implementation of MNCH interventions. We also evaluated the difference-of-differences in perinatal mortality between intervention and comparison areas.
Antenatal coverage, facility delivery and cesarean section rates were significantly higher in the post- intervention period in comparison with the period before intervention. In the intervention area, the odds of perinatal mortality decreased by 36% between the pre-intervention and post-intervention periods (odds ratio: 0.64; 95% confidence intervals: 0.52-0.78). The reduction in the intervention area was also significant relative to the reduction in the comparison area (OR 0.73, 95% CI: 0.56-0.95; P = 0.018).
The continuum of care approach provided through the integration of service delivery modes decreased the perinatal mortality rate within a short period of time. Further testing of this model is warranted within the government health system in Bangladesh and other low-income countries.
PMCID: PMC3257323  PMID: 22151276
2.  Global Estimates of Syphilis in Pregnancy and Associated Adverse Outcomes: Analysis of Multinational Antenatal Surveillance Data 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(2):e1001396.
Using multinational surveillance data, Lori Newman and colleagues estimate global rates of active syphilis in pregnant women, adverse effects, and antenatal coverage and treatment needed to meet WHO goals.
The World Health Organization initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of syphilis aims for ≥90% of pregnant women to be tested for syphilis and ≥90% to receive treatment by 2015. We calculated global and regional estimates of syphilis in pregnancy and associated adverse outcomes for 2008, as well as antenatal care (ANC) coverage for women with syphilis.
Methods and Findings
Estimates were based upon a health service delivery model. National syphilis seropositivity data from 97 of 193 countries and ANC coverage from 147 countries were obtained from World Health Organization databases. Proportions of adverse outcomes and effectiveness of screening and treatment were from published literature. Regional estimates of ANC syphilis testing and treatment were examined through sensitivity analysis. In 2008, approximately 1.36 million (range: 1.16 to 1.56 million) pregnant women globally were estimated to have probable active syphilis; of these, 80% had attended ANC. Globally, 520,905 (best case: 425,847; worst case: 615,963) adverse outcomes were estimated to be caused by maternal syphilis, including approximately 212,327 (174,938; 249,716) stillbirths (>28 wk) or early fetal deaths (22 to 28 wk), 91,764 (76,141; 107,397) neonatal deaths, 65,267 (56,929; 73,605) preterm or low birth weight infants, and 151,547 (117,848; 185,245) infected newborns. Approximately 66% of adverse outcomes occurred in ANC attendees who were not tested or were not treated for syphilis. In 2008, based on the middle case scenario, clinical services likely averted 26% of all adverse outcomes. Limitations include missing syphilis seropositivity data for many countries in Europe, the Mediterranean, and North America, and use of estimates for the proportion of syphilis that was “probable active,” and for testing and treatment coverage.
Syphilis continues to affect large numbers of pregnant women, causing substantial perinatal morbidity and mortality that could be prevented by early testing and treatment. In this analysis, most adverse outcomes occurred among women who attended ANC but were not tested or treated for syphilis, highlighting the need to improve the quality of ANC as well as ANC coverage. In addition, improved ANC data on syphilis testing coverage, positivity, and treatment are needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Syphilis—a sexually transmitted bacterial infection caused by Treponema pallidum—can pass from a mother who is infected to her unborn child. Screening pregnant women for syphilis during routine antenatal care by looking for a reaction to T. pallidum in the blood (seropositivity) and then treating any detected infections with penicillin injections has been feasible for many years, even in low-resource settings. However, because coverage of testing and treatment of syphilis remains low in many countries, mother-to-child transmission of syphilis—“congenital syphilis”—is still a global public health problem. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there were 2 million syphilis infections among pregnant women annually, 65% of which resulted in adverse pregnancy outcomes: the baby's death during early or late pregnancy (fetal death and stillbirth, respectively) or soon after birth (neonatal death), or the birth of an infected baby. Babies born with syphilis often have a low birth weight and develop problems such as blindness, deafness, and seizures if not treated.
Why Was This Study Done?
In 2007, WHO launched an initiative to eliminate congenital syphilis that set targets of at least 90% of pregnant women being tested for syphilis and at least 90% of seropositive pregnant women receiving adequate treatment by 2015. To assess the initiative's progress and to guide policy and advocacy efforts, accurate global data on the burden of syphilis in pregnancy and on associated adverse outcomes are needed. Unfortunately, even in developed countries with good laboratory facilities, definitive diagnosis of congenital syphilis is difficult. Estimates of the global burden can be obtained, however, using mathematical models. In this study, the researchers generate global and regional estimates of the burden of syphilis in pregnancy and associated adverse outcomes for 2008 using a health services delivery model.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a mathematical model to estimate the number of syphilis-infected pregnant women in each country and in each region, and to estimate the regional and global numbers of adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with syphilis. They used national syphilis seropositivity data and information on antenatal care coverage from WHO and estimates of the effectiveness of screening and treatment from published literature. Using these data and their model, the researchers estimated that, in 2008, 1.4 million pregnant women, 80% of whom had attended antenatal care services, had an active syphilis infection. Assuming a scenario in which the percentage of pregnant women tested for syphilis and adequately treated ranged from 30% for Africa and the Mediterranean region to 70% for Europe (a scenario defined in consultation with WHO advisors), the researchers estimated that maternal syphilis caused 520,000 adverse outcomes in 2008, including 215,000 stillbirths or fetal deaths, 90,000 neonatal deaths, 65,000 preterm or low birth weight infants, and 150,000 infants with congenital disease. About 66% of these adverse effects occurred in women who had attended antenatal care but were either not tested or not treated for syphilis. Finally, the researchers estimated that in 2008, clinical services averted 26% of all adverse outcomes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings, which update and extend previous estimates of the global burden of congenital syphilis, indicate that syphilis continues to affect a large number of pregnant women and their offspring. The current findings, which cannot be directly compared to previous estimates because of the different methodologies used, are likely to be affected by the accuracy of the data fed into the researchers' model. In particular, the data on the percentage of the population infected with syphilis in individual countries used in this study came from the HIV Universal Access reporting system and may not be nationally representative. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that syphilis continues to be an important cause of adverse outcomes of pregnancy, partly because pregnant women often do not receive syphilis screening and prompt treatment during routine antenatal care. The researchers recommend, therefore, that all countries should ensure that all pregnant women receive an essential package of high-quality antenatal care services that includes routine and easy access to syphilis testing and treatment. Congenital syphilis, they conclude, can only be eliminated if decision-makers at all levels prioritize the provision, quality, and monitoring of this basic antenatal care service, which has the potential to reduce infant mortality and improve maternal health.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides information on sexually transmitted diseases, including details of its strategy for the global elimination of congenital syphilis, the investment case for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, and regional updates on progress towards elimination (some information is available in several languages)
The Pan American Health Organization provides information on efforts to eliminate congenital syphilis in Latin America (in English and Spanish), and the Asia-Pacific Prevention of Parent-to-Child Transmission Task Force provides information on efforts to eliminate congenital syphilis in Asia Pacific
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a fact sheet on syphilis (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website also has a page on syphilis
MedlinePlus provides information on congenital syphilis and links to additional syphilis resources (in English and Spanish)
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine provides a toolkit for the introduction of rapid syphilis tests
Haiti: Congenital Syphilis on the Way Out is a YouTube video describing the introduction of rapid diagnostic tests for syphilis in remote parts of Haiti
PMCID: PMC3582608  PMID: 23468598
3.  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
4.  Maternal health care utilization in Nairobi and Ouagadougou: evidence from HDSS 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.24351.
Maternal mortality is higher and skilled attendance at delivery is lower in the slums of Nairobi (Kenya) compared to Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). Lower numbers of public health facilities, greater distance to facilities, and higher costs of maternal health services in Nairobi could explain these differences.
By comparing the use of maternal health care services among women with similar characteristics in the two cities, we will produce a more nuanced picture of the contextual factors at play.
We use birth statistics collected between 2009 and 2011 in all households living in several poor neighborhoods followed by the Nairobi and the Ouagadougou Health and Demographic Surveillances Systems (n=3,346 and 4,239 births). We compare the socioeconomic characteristics associated with antenatal care (ANC) use and deliveries at health facilities, controlling for demographic variables.
ANC use is greater in Nairobi than in Ouagadougou for every category of women. In Ouagadougou, there are few differentials in having at least one ANC visit and in delivering at a health facility; however, differences are observed for completing all four ANC visits. In Nairobi, less-educated, poorer, non-Kikuyu women, and women living in the neighborhood farther from public health services have poorer ANC and deliver more often outside of a health facility.
These results suggest that women are more aware of the importance of ANC utilization in Nairobi compared to Ouagadougou. The presence of numerous for-profit health facilities within slums in Nairobi may also help women have all four ANC visits, although the services received may be of substandard quality. In Ouagadougou, the lack of socioeconomic differentials in having at least one ANC visit and in delivering at a health facility suggests that these practices stem from the application of well-enforced maternal health regulations; however, these regulations do not cover the entire set of four ANC visits.
PMCID: PMC4093672  PMID: 25014187
urban; Africa; anatenatal care; place of delivery; socioeconomic differences
5.  Implementation of evidence-based antenatal care in Mozambique: a cluster randomized controlled trial: study protocol 
Antenatal care (ANC) reduces maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality directly through the detection and treatment of pregnancy-related illnesses, and indirectly through the detection of women at increased risk of delivery complications. The potential benefits of quality antenatal care services are most significant in low-resource countries where morbidity and mortality levels among women of reproductive age and neonates are higher.
WHO developed an ANC model that recommended the delivery of services scientifically proven to improve maternal, perinatal and neonatal outcomes. The aim of this study is to determine the effect of an intervention designed to increase the use of the package of evidence-based services included in the WHO ANC model in Mozambique. The primary hypothesis is that the intervention will increase the use of evidence-based practices during ANC visits in comparison to the standard dissemination channels currently used in the country.
This is a demonstration project to be developed through a facility-based cluster randomized controlled trial with a stepped wedge design. The intervention was tailored, based on formative research findings, to be readily applicable to local prenatal care services and acceptable to local pregnant women and health providers. The intervention includes four components: the provision of kits with all necessary medicines and laboratory supplies for ANC (medical and non-medical equipment), a storage system, a tracking system, and training sessions for health care providers. Ten clinics were selected and will start receiving the intervention in a random order. Outcomes will be computed at each time point when a new clinic starts the intervention. The primary outcomes are the delivery of selected health care practices to women attending the first ANC visit, and secondary outcomes are the delivery of selected health care practices to women attending second and higher ANC visits as well as the attitude of midwives in relation to adopting the practices. This demonstration project is pragmatic in orientation and will be conducted under routine conditions.
There is an urgent need for effective and sustainable scaling-up approaches of health interventions in low-resource countries. This can only be accomplished by the engagement of the country’s health stakeholders at all levels. This project aims to achieve improvement in the quality of antenatal care in Mozambique through the implementation of a multifaceted intervention on three levels: policy, organizational and health care delivery levels. The implementation of the trial will probably require a change in accountability and behaviour of health care providers and we expect this change in ‘habits’ will contribute to obtaining reliable health indicators, not only related to research issues, but also to health care outcomes derived from the new health care model. At policy level, the results of this study may suggest a need for revision of the supply chain management system. Given that supply chain management is a major challenge for many low-resource countries, we envisage that important lessons on how to improve the supply chain in Mozambique and other similar settings, will be drawn from this study.
Trial registration
Pan African Clinical Trial Registry database. Identification number: PACTR201306000550192.
PMCID: PMC4057585  PMID: 24886392
Antenatal care; Pregnancy
6.  Determinants of maternal health services utilization in urban settings of the Democratic Republic of Congo – A Case study of Lubumbashi City 
The use of maternal health services, known as an indirect indicator of perinatal death, is still unknown in Lubumbashi. The present study was therefore undertaken in order to determine the factors that influence the use of mother and child healthcare services in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This was transversal study of women residing in Lubumbashi who had delivered between January and December 2009. In total, 1762 women were sampled from households using indicator cluster surveys in all health zones. Antenatal consultations (ANC), delivery assisted by qualified healthcare personnel (and delivery in a healthcare facility) as well as postnatal consultations (PNC) were dependent variables of study. The factors determining non-use of maternal healthcare services were researched via logistic regression with a 5% materiality threshold.
The use of maternal healthcare services was variable; 92.6% of women had attended ANC at least once, 93.8% of women had delivered at a healthcare facility, 97.2% had delivered in the presence of qualified healthcare personnel, while the rate of caesarean section was 4.5%. Only 34.6% postnatal women had attended PNC by 42 days after delivery. During these ANC visits, only 60.6% received at least one dose of vaccine, while 38.1% received Mebendazole, 35.6% iron, 32.7% at least one dose of SulfadoxinePyrimethamine, 29.2% folic acid, 15.5% screening for HIV and 12.8% an insecticide treated net.
In comparison to women that had had two or three deliveries before, primiparous and grand multiparous women were twice as likely not to use ANC during their pregnancy. Women who had unplanned pregnancies were also more likely not to use ANC or PNC than those who had planned pregnancies alone or with their partner. The women who had not used ANC were also more likely not to use PNC. The women who had had a trouble-free delivery were more likely not to use PNC than those who had complications when delivering.
In Lubumbashi, a significant proportion of women continue not to make use of healthcare services during pregnancy, as well as during and after childbirth. Women giving birth for the first time, those who have already given birth many times, and women with an unwanted pregnancy, made less use of ANC. Moreover, women who had not gone for ANC rarely came back for postnatal consultations, even if they had given birth at a healthcare facility. Similarly, those who gave birth without complications, less frequently made use of postnatal consultations. As with ANCs, women with unwanted pregnancies rarely went for postnatal visits.
In addition to measures aimed at reinforcing women’s autonomy, efforts are also needed to reinforce and improve the information given to women of childbearing age, as well as communication between the healthcare system and the community, and participation from the community, since this will contribute to raising awareness of safe motherhood and the use of such services, including family planning.
PMCID: PMC3449182  PMID: 22780957
7.  Quality of antenatal care in Zambia: a national assessment 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3536568  PMID: 23237601
Maternal health services; Prenatal care; Health care quality; Africa South of the Sahara
8.  A mediation approach to understanding socio-economic inequalities in maternal health-seeking behaviours in Egypt 
The levels and origins of socio-economic inequalities in health-seeking behaviours in Egypt are poorly understood. This paper assesses the levels of health-seeking behaviours related to maternal care (antenatal care [ANC] and facility delivery) and their accumulation during pregnancy and childbirth. Secondly, it explores the mechanisms underlying the association between socio-economic position (SEP) and maternal health-seeking behaviours. Thirdly, it examines the effectiveness of targeting of free public ANC and delivery care.
Data from the 2008 Demographic and Health Survey were used to capture two latent constructs of SEP: individual socio-cultural capital and household-level economic capital. These variables were entered into an adjusted mediation model, predicting twelve dimensions of maternal health-seeking; including any ANC, private ANC, first ANC visit in first trimester, regular ANC (four or more visits during pregnancy), facility delivery, and private delivery. ANC and delivery care costs were examined separately by provider type (public or private).
While 74.2% of women with a birth in the 5-year recall period obtained any ANC and 72.4% delivered in a facility, only 48.8% obtained the complete maternal care package (timely and regular facility-based ANC as well as facility delivery) for their most recent live birth. Both socio-cultural capital and economic capital were independently positively associated with receiving any ANC and delivering in a facility. The strongest direct effect of socio-cultural capital was seen in models predicting private provider use of both ANC and delivery. Despite substantial proportions of women using public providers reporting receipt of free care (ANC: 38%, delivery: 24%), this free-of-charge public care was not effectively targeted to women with lowest economic resources.
Socio-cultural capital is the primary mechanism leading to inequalities in maternal health-seeking in Egypt. Future studies should therefore examine the objective and perceived quality of care from different types of providers. Improvements in the targeting of free public care could help reduce the existing SEP-based inequalities in maternal care coverage in the short term.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12913-014-0652-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4307186  PMID: 25603697
Maternal health; Egypt; Socio-economic inequalities; Antenatal care; Facility delivery; Mediation analysis; Health-seeking behaviour; Care utilisation
9.  Assessing predictors of delayed antenatal care visits in Rwanda: a secondary analysis of Rwanda demographic and health survey 2010 
Early initiation of antenatal care (ANC) can reduce common maternal complications and maternal and perinatal mortality. Though Rwanda demonstrated a remarkable decline in maternal mortality and 98% of Rwandan women receive antenatal care from a skilled provider, only 38% of women have an ANC visit in their first three months of pregnancy. This study assessed factors associated with delayed ANC in Rwanda.
This is a cross-sectional study using data collected during the 2010 Rwanda DHS from 6,325 women age 15–49 that had at least one birth in the last five years. Factors associated with delayed ANC were identified using a multivariable logistic regression model using manual backward stepwise regression. Analysis was conducted in Stata v12 applying survey commands to account for the complex sample design.
Several factors were significantly associated with delayed ANC including having many children (4–6 children, OR = 1.42, 95% CI: 1.22, 1.65; or more than six children, OR = 1.57, 95% CI: 1.24, 1.99); feeling that distance to health facility is a problem (OR = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.04, 1.38); and unwanted pregnancy (OR = 1.41, 95% CI: 1.26, 1.58). The following were protective against delayed ANC: having an ANC at a private hospital or clinic (OR = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.56); being married (OR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.75, 0.96), and having public mutuelle health insurance (OR = 0.81, 95% CI: 0.71, 0.92) or another type of insurance (OR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.23, 0.46).
This analysis revealed potential barriers to ANC service utilization. Distance to health facility remains a major constraint which suggests a great need of infrastructure and decentralization of maternal ANC to health posts and dispensaries. Interventions such as universal health insurance coverage, family planning, and community maternal health system are underway and could be part of effective strategies to address delays in ANC.
PMCID: PMC4152595  PMID: 25163525
Antenatal care; Delayed; Demographic survey; Rwanda; Predictors
10.  Lesotho's Minimum PMTCT Package: lessons learned for combating vertical HIV transmission using co-packaged medicines 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3531330  PMID: 23273267
mother-to-child transmission of HIV; PMTCT; Lesotho; HIV/AIDS; co-packaging; Minimum PMTCT Package
11.  The Influence of Distance and Level of Service Provision on Antenatal Care Use in Rural Zambia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46475.
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.
To improve ANC quality received by mothers, efforts should focus on improving the level of services provided at ANC facilities and their accessibility.
PMCID: PMC3464293  PMID: 23056319
12.  Comprehensive Approach to Improving Maternal Health and Achieving MDG 5: Report from the Mountains of Lesotho 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42700.
Although it is now widely recognized that reductions in maternal mortality and improvements in women's health cannot be achieved through simple, vertical strategies, few programs have provided successful models for how to integrate services into a comprehensive program for maternal health. We report our experience in rural Lesotho, where Partners In Health (PIH) in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare implemented a program that provides comprehensive care of pregnant women from the community to the clinic level.
Between May and July 2009, PIH trained 100 women, many of whom were former traditional birth attendants, to serve as clinic-affiliated maternal health workers. They received performance-based incentives for accompanying pregnant women during antenatal care (ANC) visits and facility-based delivery. A nurse-midwife provided ANC and delivery care and supervised the maternal health workers. To overcome geographic barriers to delivering at the clinic, women who lived far from the clinic stayed at a maternal lying-in house prior to their expected delivery dates. We analyzed data routinely collected from delivery and ANC registers to compare service utilization before and after implementation of the program.
After the establishment of the program, the average number first ANC visits increased from 20 to 31 per month. The clinic recorded 178 deliveries in the first year of the program and 216 in the second year, compared to 46 in the year preceding the program. During the first two years of the program, 49 women with complications were successfully transported to the district hospital, and no maternal deaths occurred among the women served by the program.
Our results demonstrate that it is possible to achieve dramatic improvements in the utilization of maternal health services and facility-based delivery by strengthening human resource capacity, implementing active follow-up in the community, and de-incentivizing home births.
PMCID: PMC3428338  PMID: 22952607
13.  Factors Associated with Four or More Antenatal Care Visits and Its Decline among Pregnant Women in Tanzania between 1999 and 2010 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101893.
In Tanzania, the coverage of four or more antenatal care (ANC 4) visits among pregnant women has declined over time. We conducted an exploratory analysis to identify factors associated with utilization of ANC 4 and ANC 4 decline among pregnant women over time. We used data from 8035 women who delivered within two years preceding Tanzania Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 1999, 2004/05 and 2010. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to examine the association between all potential factors and utilization of ANC 4; and decline in ANC 4 over time. Factors positively associated with ANC 4 utilization were higher quality of services, testing and counseling for HIV during ANC, receiving two or more doses of SP (Sulphadoxine Pyrimethamine)/Fansidar for preventing malaria during ANC and higher educational status of the woman. Negatively associated factors were residing in a zone other than Eastern zone, never married woman, reported long distance to health facility, first ANC visit after four months of pregnancy and woman's desire to avoid pregnancy. The factors significantly associated with decline in utilization of ANC 4 were: geographic zone and age of the woman at delivery. Strategies to increase ANC 4 utilization should focus on improvement in quality of care, geographic accessibility, early ANC initiation, and services that allow women to avoid pregnancy. The interconnected nature of the Tanzanian Health System is reflected in ANC 4 decline over time where introduction of new programs might have had unintended effects on existing programs. An in-depth assessment of the recent policy change towards Focused Antenatal Care and its implementation across different geographic zones, including its effect on the perception and understanding among women and performance and counseling by health providers can help explain the decline in ANC 4.
PMCID: PMC4103803  PMID: 25036291
14.  The quality–coverage gap in antenatal care: toward better measurement of effective coverage 
The proportion of pregnant women receiving 4 or more antenatal care (ANC) visits has no necessary relationship with the actual content of those visits. We propose a simple alternative to measure program performance that aggregates key services that are common across countries and measured in Demographic and Health Surveys, such as blood pressure measurement, tetanus toxoid vaccination, first ANC visit before 4 months gestation, urine testing, counseling about pregnancy danger signs, and iron–folate supplementation.
The proportion of pregnant women receiving 4 or more antenatal care (ANC) visits has no necessary relationship with the actual content of those visits. We propose a simple alternative to measure program performance that aggregates key services that are common across countries and measured in Demographic and Health Surveys, such as blood pressure measurement, tetanus toxoid vaccination, first ANC visit before 4 months gestation, urine testing, counseling about pregnancy danger signs, and iron–folate supplementation.
The proportion of pregnant women receiving 4 or more antenatal care visits (ANC 4+) is used prominently as a global benchmark indicator to track maternal health program performance. This has contributed to an inappropriate focus on the number of contacts rather than on the content and process of care. This paper presents analysis of specific elements of care received among women reporting 4 or more ANC visits.
We conducted secondary analysis using Demographic and Health Survey data from 41 countries to determine coverage for specific elements of antenatal care. The analysis was conducted for: (1) women who delivered during the 2 years preceding the survey and who reported receiving 4 or more ANC visits, and (2) all women who delivered during the preceding 2 years. The specific ANC services that we assessed were: blood pressure measurement, tetanus toxoid vaccination, first ANC visit at less than 4 months gestation, urine testing, counseling about danger signs, HIV counseling and testing, iron–folate supplementation (≥ 90 days), and at least 2 doses of sulfadoxine/pyramethamine for malaria prevention. The difference between expected (100%) and actual coverage (the quality–coverage gap) was calculated for each service across the 41 surveys.
Coverage for specific elements of care among women reporting 4 or more ANC visits was generally low for most of the specific elements assessed. Blood pressure and tetanus toxoid performed best, with median quality–coverage gaps of 5% and 18%, respectively. The greatest gaps were for iron–folate supplementation (72%) and malaria prevention (86%). Coverage for specific interventions was generally much lower among all pregnant women (reflecting population effective coverage) than among only those who had received ANC 4+ visits. Although ANC 4+ and average coverage across the elements of care correlated relatively well (Pearson r2  =  0.56), most countries had lower average coverage for the content of care than for ANC 4+ (among all pregnant women).
We argue for the adoption of a summary indicator that better reflects the content of antenatal care than does the current ANC 4+ indicator. We propose, as an alternative, the simple average of a set of ANC content indicators available through surveys and routine health information systems.
PMCID: PMC4168625  PMID: 25276575
15.  Socio-economic factors associated with maternal health-seeking behaviours among women from poor households in rural Egypt 
Socio-economic inequalities in basic maternal health interventions exist in Egypt, yet little is known about health-seeking of poor households. This paper assesses levels of maternal health-seeking behaviours in women living in poor households in rural Upper Egypt, and compares these to national averages. Secondly, we construct innovative measures of socio-economic resourcefulness among the rural poor in order to examine the association between the resulting variables and the four dimensions of maternal health-seeking behaviour.
We analysed a cross-sectional survey conducted in Assiut and Sohag governorates in 2010–2011 of 2,242 women in households below the poverty line in 65 poorest villages in Egypt. The associations between four latent socio-economic constructs (socio-cultural resourcefulness, economic resourcefulness, dwelling quality and woman’s status) and receipt of any antenatal care (ANC), regular ANC (four or more visits), facility delivery and private sector delivery for women’s most recent pregnancy in five years preceding survey were assessed using multivariate logistic regression.
In the sample, 58.5% of women reported using any ANC and 51.1% facility delivery, lower than national coverage (74.2% and 72.4%, respectively). The proportion of ANC users receiving regular ANC was lower (67%) than nationally (91%). Among women delivering in facilities, 18% of women in the poor Upper Egypt sample used private providers (63% nationally). In multivariate analysis, higher economic resourcefulness was associated with higher odds of receiving ANC but with lower odds of facility delivery. Socio-cultural resourcefulness was positively associated with receiving any ANC, regular ANC and facility delivery, whereas it was not associated with private delivery care. Dwelling quality was positively associated with private delivery facility use. Woman’s status was not independently associated with any of the four behaviours.
Coverage of basic maternal health interventions and utilisation of private providers are lower among rural poor women in Upper Egypt than nationally. Variables capturing socio-cultural resourcefulness and economic resourcefulness were useful predictors of ANC and facility delivery. Further understanding of issues surrounding availability, affordability and quality of maternal health services among the poor is crucial to eliminating inequalities in maternal health coverage in Egypt.
PMCID: PMC4247707  PMID: 25424200
Maternal health; Egypt; Ante-natal care; Facility delivery; Health-seeking behaviour; Poverty
16.  Determinants of antenatal and delivery care utilization in Tigray region, Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study 
Despite the international emphasis in the last few years on the need to address the unmet health needs of pregnant women and children, progress in reducing maternal mortality has been slow. This is particularly worrying in sub-Saharan Africa where over 162,000 women still die each year during pregnancy and childbirth, most of them because of the lack of access to skilled delivery attendance and emergency care. With a maternal mortality ratio of 673 per 100,000 live births and 19,000 maternal deaths annually, Ethiopia is a major contributor to the worldwide death toll of mothers. While some studies have looked at different risk factors for antenatal care (ANC) and delivery service utilisation in the country, information coming from community-based studies related to the Health Extension Programme (HEP) in rural areas is limited. This study aims to determine the prevalence of maternal health care utilisation and explore its determinants among rural women aged 15–49 years in Tigray, Ethiopia.
The study was a community-based cross-sectional survey using a structured questionnaire. A cluster sampling technique was used to select women who had given birth at least once in the five years prior to the survey period. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were carried out to elicit the impact of each factor on ANC and institutional delivery service utilisation.
The response rate was 99% (n=1113). The mean age of the participants was 30.4 years. The proportion of women who received ANC for their recent births was 54%; only 46 (4.1%) of women gave birth at a health facility. Factors associated with ANC utilisation were marital status, education, proximity of health facility to the village, and husband’s occupation, while use of institutional delivery was mainly associated with parity, education, having received ANC advice, a history of difficult/prolonged labour, and husbands’ occupation.
A relatively acceptable utilisation of ANC services but extremely low institutional delivery was observed. Classical socio-demographic factors were associated with both ANC and institutional delivery attendance. ANC advice can contribute to increase institutional delivery use. Different aspects of HEP need to be strengthened to improve maternal health in Tigray.
PMCID: PMC3658893  PMID: 23672203
17.  Do Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems benefit local populations? Maternal care utilisation in Butajira HDSS, Ethiopia 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.24228.
The benefits of Health and Demographic Surveillance sites for local populations have been the topic of discussion as countries such as Ethiopia take efforts to achieve their Millennium Development Goal targets, on which they lag behind. Ethiopia's maternal mortality ratio is very high, and in the 2011 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (2011 EDHS) it was estimated to be 676/100,000 live births. Recent Global Burden of Disease (GBD) and estimates based on the United Nations model reported better, but still unacceptably high, figures of 497/100,000 and 420/100,000 live births for 2013. In the 2011 EDHS, antenatal care (ANC) utilization was estimated at 34%, and delivery in health facilities was only 10%.
To compare maternal health service utilization among populations in a Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) to non-HDSS populations in Butajira district, south central Ethiopia.
A community-based comparative cross-sectional study was conducted in January and February 2012 among women who had delivered in the 2 years before the survey.
A total of 2,296 women were included in the study. One thousand eight hundred and sixty two (81.1%) had attended ANC at least once, and 37% of the women had attended ANC at least four times. A quarter of the women delivered their last child in a health facility. Of the women living outside the HDSS areas, 715 (75.3%) attended ANC at least once compared to 85.1% of women living in the HDSS areas [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.59; 95% CI 0.46, 0.74]. Of the women living outside the HDSS areas, only 170 (17.9%) delivered in health facilities and were assisted by skilled attendants during delivery, whereas 30.0% of those living in HDSS areas delivered in health facilities (AOR 0.66; 95% CI 0.48, 0.91).
This paper provides possible evidence that living in an HDSS site has a positive influence on maternal health. In addition, there may be a positive influence on those living nearby or in the same district where an HDSS is located even when not included in the surveillance system.
PMCID: PMC4083147  PMID: 24998383
demographic; surveillance; Ethiopia; antenatal care; skilled attendance; facility delivery
18.  Quality of Antenatal Care in Primary Health Care Centers of Bangladesh 
Objective: To find out the quality of ANC in the Upazila Health Complexes (PHC centres) of Bangladesh.
Materials and methods: This cross sectional study was done in purposively selected three upazilas among the clients receiving antenatal care (ANC). Data were collected with questionnaire cum checklist in the context of two aspects of quality issues, namely assessment of physical arrangements for ANC (input) and services rendered by the providers (process).
Results: The mean age of respondents was 24.6±4.5 years. Majority of the respondents were with primary level education (60.3%). About half (52.8%) of the families had monthly income ranging from 3000-5000 taka (38-64 US$). Nearly half (48.9%) had no child, little more than one third (42.3%) were primigravida and 528 (57.7%) were multigravida. Out of 528 multigravid respondents 360 (68.2%) took ANC in their previous pregnancy whereas 168 (31.8%) did not take ANC Pregnancy outcome was found to be associated with receiving ANC (χ2=73.599; p=0.000). Respondents receiving ANC had more good pregnancy outcome. The mean waiting time for receiving ANC was 0.77±.49 hours. Out of the 13 centers, only 3 (23.1%) have sufficient instruments to render ANC services. Findings showed that where the modes of ANC service delivery in the ANC centers are fairly satisfactory. Though some of the points of standard operation procedures (SOPs) on ANC are not covered by some ANC centers, those were not considered necessary. But, regarding the physical facilities available for rendering ANC services, it is seen that facilities are not quite satisfactory. Number of doctors and nurses are not very satisfactory. One of the centers under this study has no doctor, where ANC services are given by nurses.
Conclusion: It can be concluded that the ANC services at the primary health care level is not adequate in Bangladesh. To ensure further improvement of the quality of ANC services, instruments used in logistics and supplies should be enhanced.
PMCID: PMC4266789  PMID: 25530770
Antenatal Care; Primigravida; Multigravida; Primary Health Care
19.  Use of antenatal services and delivery care among women in rural western Kenya: a community based survey 
Improving maternal health is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals. We assessed provision and use of antenatal services and delivery care among women in rural Kenya to determine whether women were receiving appropriate care.
Population-based cross-sectional survey among women who had recently delivered.
Of 635 participants, 90% visited the antenatal clinic (ANC) at least once during their last pregnancy (median number of visits 4). Most women (64%) first visited the ANC in the third trimester; a perceived lack of quality in the ANC was associated with a late first ANC visit (Odds ratio [OR] 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0–2.4). Women who did not visit an ANC were more likely to have < 8 years of education (adjusted OR [AOR] 3.0, 95% CI 1.5–6.0), and a low socio-economic status (SES) (AOR 2.8, 95% CI 1.5–5.3). The ANC provision of abdominal palpation, tetanus vaccination and weight measurement were high (>90%), but provision of other services was low, e.g. malaria prevention (21%), iron (53%) and folate (44%) supplementation, syphilis testing (19.4%) and health talks (14.4%). Eighty percent of women delivered outside a health facility; among these, traditional birth attendants assisted 42%, laypersons assisted 36%, while 22% received no assistance. Factors significantly associated with giving birth outside a health facility included: age ≥ 30 years, parity ≥ 5, low SES, < 8 years of education, and > 1 hour walking distance from the health facility. Women who delivered unassisted were more likely to be of parity ≥ 5 (AOR 5.7, 95% CI 2.8–11.6).
In this rural area, usage of the ANC was high, but this opportunity to deliver important health services was not fully utilized. Use of professional delivery services was low, and almost 1 out of 5 women delivered unassisted. There is an urgent need to improve this dangerous situation.
PMCID: PMC1459114  PMID: 16597344
20.  Utilization of maternal health services among young women in Kenya: Insights from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, 2003 
Use of maternal health services is an effective means for reducing the risk of maternal morbidity and mortality, especially in places where the general health status of women is poor. This study was guided by the following objectives: 1) To determine the relationship between timing of first antenatal care (ANC) visit and type of delivery assistance 2) To establish the determinants of timing of first ANC visit and type delivery assistance.
Data used were drawn from the 2003 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, with a focus on young women aged 15-24. The dependent variables were: Timing of first ANC visit coded as "None"; "Late" and "Early", and type of delivery assistance coded as "None"; "Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA)" and "Skilled professional". Control variables included: education, household wealth, urban-rural residence, ethnicity, parity, age at birth of the last child and marital status. Multivariate ordered logistic regression model was used.
The study results show that place of residence, household wealth, education, ethnicity, parity, marital status and age at birth of the last child had strong influences on timing of first ANC visit and the type of delivery assistance received. The major finding is an association between early timing of the first ANC visit and use of skilled professionals at delivery.
This study confirms that timing of first antenatal care is indeed an important entry point for delivery care as young women who initiated antenatal care early were more likely to use skilled professional assistance at delivery than their counterparts who initiated ANC late. The results indicate that a large percentage of young pregnant women do not seek ANC during their first trimester as is recommended by the WHO, which may affect the type of assistance they receive during delivery. It is important that programs aimed at improving maternal health include targeting young women, especially those from rural areas, with low levels of education, higher parity and from poor households, given their high risk during pregnancy. The finding that a considerably high proportion of young women use TBAs as opposed to use of skilled professionals is baffling and calls for further research.
PMCID: PMC3022772  PMID: 21214960
21.  Seeking evidence to support efforts to increase use of antenatal care: a cross-sectional study in two states of Nigeria 
Antenatal care (ANC) attendance is a strong predictor of maternal outcomes. In Nigeria, government health planners at state level and below have limited access to population-based estimates of ANC coverage and factors associated with its use. A mixed methods study examined factors associated with the use of government ANC services in two states of Nigeria, and shared the findings with stakeholders.
A quantitative household survey in Bauchi and Cross River states of Nigeria collected data from women aged 15–49 years on ANC use during their last completed pregnancy and potentially associated factors including socio-economic conditions, exposure to domestic violence and local availability of services. Bivariate and multivariate analysis examined associations with having at least four government ANC visits. We collected qualitative data from 180 focus groups of women who discussed the survey findings and recommended solutions. We shared the findings with state, Local Government Authority, and community stakeholders to support evidence-based planning.
40% of 7870 women in Bauchi and 46% of 7759 in Cross River had at least four government ANC visits. Women's education, urban residence, information from heath workers, help from family members, and household owning motorized transport were associated with ANC use in both states. Additional factors for women in Cross River included age above 18 years, being married or cohabiting, being less poor (having enough food during the last week), not experiencing intimate partner violence during the last year, and education of the household head. Factors for women in Bauchi were presence of government ANC services within their community and more than two previous pregnancies. Focus groups cited costly, poor quality, and inaccessible government services, and uncooperative partners as reasons for not attending ANC. Government and other stakeholders planned evidence-based interventions to increase ANC uptake.
Use of ANC services remains low in both states. The factors related to use of ANC services are consistent with those reported previously. Efforts to increase uptake of ANC should focus particularly on poor and uneducated women. Local solutions generated by discussion of the evidence with stakeholders could be more effective and sustainable than externally driven interventions.
PMCID: PMC4245780  PMID: 25410003
Antenatal care; Government; Determinants; Cross-sectional; Multivariate; Nigeria
22.  Towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV: performance of different models of care for initiating lifelong antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women in Malawi (Option B+) 
Malawi introduced a new strategy to improve the effectiveness of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), the Option B+ strategy. We aimed to (i) describe how Option B+ is provided in health facilities in the South East Zone in Malawi, identifying the diverse approaches to service organization (the “model of care”) and (ii) explore associations between the “model of care” and health facility–level uptake and retention rates for pregnant women identified as HIV-positive at antenatal (ANC) clinics.
A health facility survey was conducted in all facilities providing PMTCT/antiretroviral therapy (ART) services in six of Malawi's 28 districts to describe and compare Option B+ service delivery models. Associations of identified models with program performance were explored using facility cohort reports.
Among 141 health facilities, four “models of care” were identified: A) facilities where newly identified HIV-positive women are initiated and followed on ART at the ANC clinic until delivery; B) facilities where newly identified HIV-positive women receive only the first dose of ART at the ANC clinic, and are referred to the ART clinic for follow-up; C) facilities where newly identified HIV-positive women are referred from ANC to the ART clinic for initiation and follow-up of ART; and D) facilities serving as ART referral sites (not providing ANC). The proportion of women tested for HIV during ANC was highest in facilities applying Model A and lowest in facilities applying Model B. The highest retention rates were reported in Model C and D facilities and lowest in Model B facilities. In multivariable analyses, health facility factors independently associated with uptake of HIV testing and counselling (HTC) in ANC were number of women per HTC counsellor, HIV test kit availability, and the “model of care” applied; factors independently associated with ART retention were district location, patient volume and the “model of care” applied.
A large variety exists in the way health facilities have integrated PMTCT Option B+ care into routine service delivery. This study showed that the “model of care” chosen is associated with uptake of HIV testing in ANC and retention in care on ART. Further patient-level research is needed to guide policy recommendations.
PMCID: PMC4116618  PMID: 25079437
PMTCT; Option B+; Malawi; service delivery model; model of care; retention
23.  Socio-Demographic Determinants of Maternal Health-Care Service Utilization Among Rural Women in Anambra State, South East Nigeria 
Although, antenatal care (ANC) attendance in sub Saharan Africa is high, however this does not always translate into quality ANC care service utilization.
This study therefore is aimed at exploring pattern of maternal health (MH) services utilization and the socio-demographic factors influencing it in Anambra State, South East Nigeria.
Subjects and Methods:
A total of 310 women of reproductive age with a previous history of gestation attending ANC services between September, 2007 and August, 2008 in selected Primary Health Centers in Anambra State were studied. Responses were elicited from the study participants using a pre-tested, semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. Data collected were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17 (SPSS Inc, Chicago Illinois, USA). Association between socio-demographic characteristics and pattern of utilization of ANC and delivery services was measured using χ2-test, Regression analysis was done to identify factors associated with utilization of MH services. P < 0.05 was assumed to be significant.
Use of health facility was 293 (97.0%) and 277 (92,7%) out 302 women for ANC and delivery services respectively. Most women attended their first ANC consultation during the preceding pregnancy was after the first trimester and about 31% (94/298) of them had <4 ANC visits prior to delivery. Socio-demographic factors were found to be significantly associated with places where MH care services are accessed. Parity was found to be associated with timing of ANC booking and number of ANC attendance (χ2 = 9.49, P = 0.05). Odds of utilizing formal health facility for MH services were found to be significantly associated with increasing age (P < 0.01) and educational status of mothers (P < 0.001).
The study revealed high maternal service utilization and 10% fetal loss, hence the need to address the gaps of late ANC booking and low ANC visits.
PMCID: PMC4071737  PMID: 24971212
Antenatal care; Delivery; Determinants; Nigeria; Parity; Rural
24.  Factors Affecting Antenatal Care Attendance: Results from Qualitative Studies in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53747.
Antenatal care (ANC) is a key strategy to improve maternal and infant health. However, survey data from sub-Saharan Africa indicate that women often only initiate ANC after the first trimester and do not achieve the recommended number of ANC visits. Drawing on qualitative data, this article comparatively explores the factors that influence ANC attendance across four sub-Saharan African sites in three countries (Ghana, Kenya and Malawi) with varying levels of ANC attendance.
Data were collected as part of a programme of qualitative research investigating the social and cultural context of malaria in pregnancy. A range of methods was employed interviews, focus groups with diverse respondents and observations in local communities and health facilities.
Across the sites, women attended ANC at least once. However, their descriptions of ANC were often vague. General ideas about pregnancy care – checking the foetus’ position or monitoring its progress – motivated women to attend ANC; as did, especially in Kenya, obtaining the ANC card to avoid reprimands from health workers. Women’s timing of ANC initiation was influenced by reproductive concerns and pregnancy uncertainties, particularly during the first trimester, and how ANC services responded to this uncertainty; age, parity and the associated implications for pregnancy disclosure; interactions with healthcare workers, particularly messages about timing of ANC; and the cost of ANC, including charges levied for ANC procedures – in spite of policies of free ANC – combined with ideas about the compulsory nature of follow-up appointments.
In these socially and culturally diverse sites, the findings suggest that ‘supply’ side factors have an important influence on ANC attendance: the design of ANC and particularly how ANC deals with the needs and concerns of women during the first trimester has implications for timing of initiation.
PMCID: PMC3546008  PMID: 23335973
25.  Distribution of cause of death in rural Bangladesh during 2003–2010: evidence from two rural areas within Matlab Health and Demographic Surveillance site 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.25510.
This study used the InterVA-4 computerised model to assign probable cause of death (CoD) to verbal autopsies (VAs) generated from two rural areas, with a difference in health service provision, within the Matlab Health and Demographic Surveillance site (HDSS). This study aimed to compare CoD by gender, as well as discussing possible factors which could influence differences in the distribution of CoD between the two areas.
Data for this study came from the Matlab the HDSS maintained by the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) since 1966. In late 1977, icddr,b divided HDSS and implemented a high-quality maternal, newborn and child health and family planning (MNCH-FP) services project in one half, called the icddr,b service area (SA), in addition to the usual public and private MNCH-FP services that serve the other half, called the government SA. HDSS field workers registered 12,144 deaths during 2003–2010, and trained interviewers obtained VA for 98.9% of them. The probabilistic model InterVA-4 probabilistic model (version 4.02) was used to derive probable CoD from VA symptoms. Cause-specific mortality rates and fractions were compared across gender and areas. Appropriate statistical tests were applied for significance testing.
Mortality rates due to neonatal causes and communicable diseases (CDs) were lower in the icddr,b SA than in the government SA, where mortality rates due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were lower. Cause-specific mortality fractions (CSMFs) due to CDs (23.2% versus 18.8%) and neonatal causes (7.4% versus 6%) were higher in the government SA, whereas CSMFs due to NCDs were higher (58.2% versus 50.7%) in the icddr,b SA. The rank-order of CSMFs by age group showed marked variations, the largest category being acute respiratory infection/pneumonia in infancy, injury in 1–4 and 5–14 years, neoplasms in 15–49 and 50–64 years, and stroke in 65+ years.
Automated InterVA-4 coding of VA to determine probable CoD revealed the difference in the structure of CoD between areas with prominence of NCDs in both areas. Such information can help local planning of health services for prevention and management of disease burden.
PMCID: PMC4220145  PMID: 25377333
InterVA; verbal autopsy; cause of death; Matlab; Bangladesh

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