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1.  Program synergies and social relations: implications of integrating HIV testing and counselling into maternal health care on care seeking 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:24.
Background
Women and children in sub-Saharan Africa bear a disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS. Integration of HIV with maternal and child services aims to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS. To assess the potential gains and risks of such integration, this paper considers pregnant women’s and providers’ perceptions about the effects of integrated HIV testing and counselling on care seeking by pregnant women during antenatal care in Tanzania.
Methods
From a larger evaluation of an integrated maternal and newborn health care program in Morogoro, Tanzania, this analysis included a subset of information from 203 observations of antenatal care and interviews with 57 providers and 190 pregnant women from 18 public health centers in rural and peri-urban settings. Qualitative data were analyzed manually and with Atlas.ti using a framework approach, and quantitative data of respondents’ demographic information were analyzed with Stata 12.0.
Results
Perceptions of integrating HIV testing with routine antenatal care from women and health providers were generally positive. Respondents felt that integration increased coverage of HIV testing, particularly among difficult-to-reach populations, and improved convenience, efficiency, and confidentiality for women while reducing stigma. Pregnant women believed that early detection of HIV protected their own health and that of their children. Despite these positive views, challenges remained. Providers and women perceived opt out HIV testing and counselling during antenatal services to be compulsory. A sense of powerlessness and anxiety pervaded some women’s responses, reflecting the unequal relations, lack of supportive communications and breaches in confidentiality between women and providers. Lastly, stigma surrounding HIV was reported to lead some women to discontinue services or seek care through other access points in the health system.
Conclusion
While providers and pregnant women view program synergies from integrating HIV services into antenatal care positively, lack of supportive provider-patient relationships, lack of trust resulting from harsh treatment or breaches in confidentiality, and stigma still inhibit women’s care seeking. As countries continue rollout of Option B+, social relations between patients and providers must be understood and addressed to ensure that integrated delivery of HIV counselling and services encourages women’s care seeking in order to improve maternal and child health.
doi:10.1186/s12889-014-1336-3
PMCID: PMC4311416  PMID: 25603914
ANC; HIV testing and counselling; Integration; Care seeking; Patient-provider interaction; Stigma
2.  Health workers’ knowledge of and attitudes towards computer applications in rural African health facilities 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.24534.
Background
The QUALMAT (Quality of Maternal and Prenatal Care: Bridging the Know-do Gap) project has introduced an electronic clinical decision support system (CDSS) for pre-natal and maternal care services in rural primary health facilities in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Tanzania.
Objective
To report an assessment of health providers’ computer knowledge, experience, and attitudes prior to the implementation of the QUALMAT electronic CDSS.
Design
A cross-sectional study was conducted with providers in 24 QUALMAT project sites. Information was collected using structured questionnaires. Chi-squared tests and one-way ANOVA describe the association between computer knowledge, attitudes, and other factors. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted to gain further insights.
Results
A total of 108 providers responded, 63% were from Tanzania and 37% from Ghana. The mean age was 37.6 years, and 79% were female. Only 40% had ever used computers, and 29% had prior computer training. About 80% were computer illiterate or beginners. Educational level, age, and years of work experience were significantly associated with computer knowledge (p<0.01). Most (95.3%) had positive attitudes towards computers – average score (±SD) of 37.2 (±4.9). Females had significantly lower scores than males. Interviews and group discussions showed that although most were lacking computer knowledge and experience, they were optimistic about overcoming challenges associated with the introduction of computers in their workplace.
Conclusions
Given the low levels of computer knowledge among rural health workers in Africa, it is important to provide adequate training and support to ensure the successful uptake of electronic CDSSs in these settings. The positive attitudes to computers found in this study underscore that also rural care providers are ready to use such technology.
doi:10.3402/gha.v7.24534
PMCID: PMC4212075  PMID: 25361721
computers; computer knowledge; attitude towards computers; rural health services; health personnel; maternal health services; sub-Saharan Africa
3.  Experiences of and responses to disrespectful maternity care and abuse during childbirth; a qualitative study with women and men in Morogoro Region, Tanzania 
Background
Interventions to reduce maternal mortality have focused on delivery in facilities, yet in many low-resource settings rates of facility-based birth have remained persistently low. In Tanzania, rates of facility delivery have remained static for more than 20 years. With an aim to advance research and inform policy changes, this paper builds on a growing body of work that explores dimensions of and responses to disrespectful maternity care and abuse during childbirth in facilities across Morogoro Region, Tanzania.
Methods
This research drew on in-depth interviews with 112 respondents including women who delivered in the preceding 14 months, their male partners, public opinion leaders and community health workers to understand experiences with and responses to abuse during childbirth. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, translated and coded using Atlas.ti. Analysis drew on the principles of Grounded Theory.
Results
When initially describing birth experiences, women portrayed encounters with providers in a neutral or satisfactory light. Upon probing, women recounted events or circumstances that are described as abusive in maternal health literature: feeling ignored or neglected; monetary demands or discriminatory treatment; verbal abuse; and in rare instances physical abuse. Findings were consistent across respondent groups and districts. As a response to abuse, women described acquiescence or non-confrontational strategies: resigning oneself to abuse, returning home, or bypassing certain facilities or providers. Male respondents described more assertive approaches: requesting better care, paying a bribe, lodging a complaint and in one case assaulting a provider.
Conclusions
Many Tanzanian women included in this study experienced unfavorable conditions when delivering in facilities. Providers, women and their families must be made aware of women’s rights to respectful care. Recommendations for further research include investigations of the prevalence and dimensions of disrespectful care and abuse, on mechanisms for women and their families to effectively report and redress such events and on interventions that could mitigate neglect or isolation among delivering women. Respectful care is a critical component to improve maternal health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-268
PMCID: PMC4261577  PMID: 25112432
Maternal health; Abuse; Respectful maternity care; Tanzania; Male involvement; Childbirth
4.  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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101893
PMCID: PMC4103803  PMID: 25036291
5.  Prevalence and determinants of obesity among primary school children in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 
Archives of Public Health  2013;71(1):26.
Background
Childhood obesity has increased dramatically and has become a public health concern worldwide. Childhood obesity is likely to persist through adulthood and may lead to early onset of NCDs. However, there is paucity of data on obesity among primary school children in Tanzania. This study assessed the prevalence and determinants of obesity among primary school children in Dar es Salaam.
Methods
A cross sectional study was conducted among school age children in randomly selected schools in Dar es Salaam. Anthropometric and blood pressure measurements were taken using standard procedures. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters (kg/m2). Child obesity was defined as BMI at or above 95th percentile for age and sex. Socio-demographic characteristics of children were determined using a structured questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to determine association between independent variables with obesity among primary school children in Dar es Salaam.
Results
A total of 446 children were included in the analysis. The mean age of the participants was 11.1±2.0 years and 53.1% were girls. The mean BMI, SBP and DBP were 16.6±4.0 kg/m2, 103.9±10.3mmHg and 65.6±8.2mmHg respectively. The overall prevalence of child obesity was 5.2% and was higher among girls (6.3%) compared to boys (3.8%). Obese children had significantly higher mean values for age (p=0.042), systolic and diastolic blood pressures (all p<0.001). Most obese children were from households with fewer children (p=0.019) and residing in urban areas (p=0.002). Controlling for other variables, age above 10 years (AOR=3.3, 95% CI=1.5-7.2), female sex (AOR=2.6, 95% CI=1.4-4.9), urban residence (AOR=2.5, 95% CI=1.2-5.3) and having money to spend at school (AOR=2.6, 95% CI=1.4-4.8) were significantly associated with child obesity.
Conclusions
The prevalence of childhood obesity in this population was found to be low. However, children from urban schools and girls were proportionately more obese compared to their counterparts. Primary preventive measures for childhood obesity should start early in childhood and address socioeconomic factors of parents contributing to childhood obesity.
doi:10.1186/0778-7367-71-26
PMCID: PMC3844852  PMID: 24094276
Prevalence; Child obesity; Determinants; Urban; Children; Tanzania
6.  Obesity, Overweight, and Perceptions about Body Weight among Middle-Aged Adults in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 
ISRN Obesity  2012;2012:368520.
Background. Prevalence of obesity is increasing throughout the world at an alarming rate. Appropriate perception of one's own body weight is important for improved weight control behavior. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity and assess perception of body weight among middle aged adults in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Methods. Structured questionnaire was used to collect sociodemographic and lifestyle information including perception about body weight. Anthropometric measurements were taken by a trained person following standard procedures. Results. Prevalence of obesity was 13% and 36% among men and women, respectively. There was significant gender difference in perception of body weight (12% and 25% of men and women perceived their body weight as overweight). Only 2% of women perceived themselves as obese whereas none of the men did so. Among overweight men, only 22% perceived themselves as overweight/obese compared to 38% of overweight women who perceived themselves as overweight/obese. Overall, majority of the participants (87%) were willing to lose weight. Conclusions. There is a great difference between perceived and actual body weight with men underestimating their body weight more than women. Educational programs regarding overweight and obesity and the associated health consequences are highly recommended in Tanzania.
doi:10.5402/2012/368520
PMCID: PMC3914263  PMID: 24527261
7.  'How to know what you need to do': a cross-country comparison of maternal health guidelines in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Tanzania 
Background
Initiatives to raise the quality of care provided to mothers need to be given priority in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). The promotion of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) is a common strategy, but their implementation is often challenging, limiting their potential impact. Through a cross-country perspective, this study explored CPGs for maternal health in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Tanzania. The objectives were to compare factors related to CPG use including their content compared with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, their format, and their development processes. Perceptions of their availability and use in practice were also explored. The overall purpose was to further the understanding of how to increase CPGs' potential to improve quality of care for mothers in SSA.
Methods
The study was a multiple case study design consisting of cross-country comparisons using document review and key informant interviews. A conceptual framework to aid analysis and discussion of results was developed, including selected domains related to guidelines' implementability and use by health workers in practice in terms of usability, applicability, and adaptability.
Results
The study revealed few significant differences in content between the national guidelines for maternal health and WHO recommendations. There were, however, marked variations in the format of CPGs between the three countries. Apart from the Ghanaian and one of the Tanzanian CPGs, the levels of both usability and applicability were assessed as low or medium. In all three countries, the use of CPGs by health workers in practice was perceived to be limited.
Conclusion
Our cross-country study suggests that it is not poor quality of content or lack of evidence base that constitute the major barrier for CPGs to positively impact on quality improvement in maternal care in SSA. It rather emphasises the need to prioritise the format of guidelines to increase their usability and applicability and to consider these attributes together with implementation strategies as integral to their development processes.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-31
PMCID: PMC3372446  PMID: 22500744
CPGs; Health service delivery; Implementation; Information and communication technology (ICT); Maternal health; Quality improvement; Sub Saharan Africa; WHO
8.  Physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk factors among young and middle-aged men in urban Mwanza, Tanzania 
Background
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk factors are increasing at an unprecedented rate in developing countries. However, fewer studies have evaluated the role of physical activity in preventing CVD in these countries. We assessed level physical activity and its relationship with CVD risk factors among young and middle aged men in a fast growing city of Mwanza in Tanzania.
Methods
Physical activity was assessed among 97 healthy men aged 20–50years using Sub-Saharan Africa Activity Questionnaire. An updated compendium of physical activity was used to code the metabolic equivalent. Energy expenditure was calculated using Harris Benedict equation. Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose and serum lipids were also measured.
Results
The mean energy expenditure in this population was 6,466±252 kcal/week. More than half (53.6%) of the participants had energy expenditure of ≥4,000 kcal/week. Only three (3.1%) had energy expenditure below the recommended 1,000 kcal/week. Except for hypertension, prevalence of CVD risk factors was low in this population; hypertension 23.7%, low HDL-cholesterol 10.3%, high LDL-cholesterol 9.3% and obesity 4.1%. Physical activity energy expenditure had an inversely relationship with waist to hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, heart rate, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides and fasting blood glucose.
Conclusion
Physical activity energy expenditure was high in this population and was inversely correlated with CVD risk factors. Physical activity may play an important role in the prevention of CVD in this urban population of young and middle aged men.
PMCID: PMC3283018  PMID: 22368754
Urbanization; Nutrition transition; Physical activity energy expenditure; Occupation intensity; Tanzania
9.  Effectiveness of community based safe motherhood promoters in improving the utilization of obstetric care. The case of Mtwara Rural District in Tanzania 
Background
In Tanzania, maternal mortality ratio remains unacceptably high at 578/100,000 live births. Despite a high coverage of antenatal care (96%), only 44% of deliveries take place within the formal health services. Still, "Ensure skilled attendant at birth" is acknowledged as one of the most effective interventions to reduce maternal deaths. Exploring the potential of community-based interventions in increasing the utilization of obstetric care, the study aimed at developing, testing and assessing a community-based safe motherhood intervention in Mtwara rural District of Tanzania.
Method
This community-based intervention was designed as a pre-post comparison study, covering 4 villages with a total population of 8300. Intervention activities were implemented by 50 trained safe motherhood promoters (SMPs). Their tasks focused on promoting early and complete antenatal care visits and delivery with a skilled attendant. Data on all 512 deliveries taking place from October 2004 to November 2006 were collected by the SMPs and cross-checked with health service records. In addition 242 respondents were interviewed with respect to knowledge on safe motherhood issues and their perception of the SMP's performance. Skilled delivery attendance was our primary outcome; secondary outcomes included antenatal care attendance and knowledge on Safe Motherhood issues.
Results
Deliveries with skilled attendant significantly increased from 34.1% to 51.4% (ρ < 0.05). Early ANC booking (4 to 16 weeks) rose significantly from 18.7% at baseline to 37.7% in 2005 and 56.9% (ρ < 0.001) at final assessment. After two years 44 (88%) of the SMPs were still active, 79% of pregnant women were visited. Further benefits included the enhancement of male involvement in safe motherhood issues.
Conclusion
The study has demonstrated the effectiveness of community-based safe motherhood intervention in promoting the utilization of obstetric care and a skilled attendant at delivery. This improvement is attributed to the SMPs' home visits and the close collaboration with existing community structures as well as health services.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-10-14
PMCID: PMC2858713  PMID: 20359341
10.  Latent tuberculosis among pregnant mothers in a resource poor setting in Northern Tanzania: a cross-sectional study 
Background
Untreated latent TB infection (LTBI) is a significant risk factor for active pulmonary tuberculosis, hence predisposing to adverse pregnancy outcomes and mother to child transmission. The prevalence of latent tuberculosis in pregnancy and its association, if any, with various socio-demographic, obstetric and clinical characteristics was evaluated.
Methods
Northern Tanzania was chosen as the study site. In a cross-sectional study, a total of 286 pregnant women from 12 weeks gestational age to term were assessed. Screening was undertaken using an algorithm involving tuberculin skin testing, symptom screening in the form of a questionnaire, sputum testing for acid fast bacilli followed by shielded chest X-rays if indicated. HIV serology was also performed on consenting participants.
Results
Prevalence of latent infection ranged between 26.2% and 37.4% while HIV sero prevalence was 4.5%. After multivariate logistic analysis it was found that age, parity, body mass index, gestational age, and HIV sero status did not have any significant association with tuberculin skin test results. However certain ethnic groups were found to be less vulnerable to LTBI as compared to others (Chi square = 10.55, p = 0.03). All sputum smears for acid fast bacilli were negative.
Conclusion
The prevalence of latent tuberculosis in pregnant women was found to be relatively high compared to that of the general population. In endemic areas, socio-demographic parameters alone are rarely adequate in identifying women susceptible to TB infection; therefore targeted screening should be conducted for all pregnant women at high risk for activation (especially HIV positive women). As opposed to the current policy of passive case detection, there appears to be an imminent need to move towards active screening. Ethnicity may provide important clues into genetic and cultural differences which predispose to latent tuberculosis, and is worth exploring further.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-52
PMCID: PMC2846946  PMID: 20205938
11.  Gender-related differences in the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors and their correlates in urban Tanzania 
Background
Urban areas in Africa suffer a serious problem with dual burden of infectious diseases and emerging chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes which pose a serious threat to population health and health care resources. However in East Africa, there is limited literature in this research area. The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors and their correlates among adults in Temeke, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Results of this study will help inform future research and potential preventive and therapeutic interventions against such chronic diseases.
Methods
The study design was a cross sectional epidemiological study. A total of 209 participants aged between 44 and 66 years were included in the study. A structured questionnaire was used to evaluate socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics. Blood samples were collected and analyzed to measure lipid profile and fasting glucose levels. Cardiovascular risk factors were defined using World Health Organization criteria.
Results
The age-adjusted prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30) was 13% and 35%, among men and women (p = 0.0003), respectively. The prevalence of abdominal obesity was 11% and 58% (p < 0.0001), and high WHR (men: >0.9, women: >0.85) was 51% and 73% (p = 0.002) for men and women respectively. Women had 4.3 times greater odds of obesity (95% CI: 1.9–10.1), 14.2–fold increased odds for abdominal adiposity (95% CI: 5.8–34.6), and 2.8 times greater odds of high waist-hip-ratio (95% CI: 1.4–5.7), compared to men. Women had more than three-fold greater odds of having metabolic syndrome (p = 0.001) compared to male counterparts, including abdominal obesity, low HDL-cholesterol, and high fasting blood glucose components. In contrast, female participants had 50% lower odds of having hypertension, compared to men (95%CI: 0.3–1.0). Among men, BMI and waist circumference were significantly correlated with blood pressure, triglycerides, total, LDL-, and HDL-cholesterol (BMI only), and fasting glucose; in contrast, only blood pressure was positively associated with BMI and waist circumference in women.
Conclusion
The prevalence of CVD risk factors was high in this population, particularly among women. Health promotion, primary prevention, and health screening strategies are needed to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Tanzania.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-9-30
PMCID: PMC2723083  PMID: 19615066
12.  Use pattern of maternal health services and determinants of skilled care during delivery in Southern Tanzania: implications for achievement of MDG-5 targets 
Background
Almost two decades since the initiation of the Safe motherhood Initiative, Maternal Mortality is still soaring high in most developing countries. In 2000 WHO estimated a life time risk of a maternal death of 1 in 16 in Sub- Saharan Africa while it was only 1 in 2800 in developed countries. This huge discrepancy in the rate of maternal deaths is due to differences in access and use of maternal health care services. It is known that having a skilled attendant at every delivery can lead to marked reductions in maternal mortality. For this reason, the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel is one of the indicators used to monitor progress towards the achievement of the MDG-5 of improving maternal health.
Methods
Cross sectional study which employed quantitative research methods.
Results
We interviewed 974 women who gave birth within one year prior to the survey. Although almost all (99.8%) attended ANC at least once during their last pregnancy, only 46.7% reported to deliver in a health facility and only 44.5% were assisted during delivery by a skilled attendant. Distance to the health facility (OR = 4.09 (2.72–6.16)), discussion with the male partner on place of delivery (OR = 2.37(1.75–3.22)), advise to deliver in a health facility during ANC (OR = 1.43 (1.25–2.63)) and knowledge of pregnancy risk factors (OR 2.95 (1.65–5.25)) showed significant association with use of skilled care at delivery even after controlling for confounding factors.
Conclusion
Use of skilled care during delivery in this district is below the target set by ICPD + of attaining 80% of deliveries attended by skilled personnel by 2005. We recommend the following in order to increase the pace towards achieving the MDG targets: to improve coverage of health facilities, raising awareness for both men and women on danger signs during pregnancy/delivery and strengthening counseling on facility delivery and individual birth preparedness.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-29
PMCID: PMC2222241  PMID: 18053268
13.  Knowledge about safe motherhood and HIV/AIDS among school pupils in a rural area in Tanzania 
Background
The majority of adolescents in Africa experience pregnancy, childbirth and enter motherhood without adequate information about maternal health issues. Information about these issues could help them reduce their pregnancy related health risks. Existing studies have concentrated on adolescents' knowledge of other areas of reproductive health, but little is known about their awareness and knowledge of safe motherhood issues. We sought to bridge this gap by assessing the knowledge of school pupils regarding safe motherhood in Mtwara Region, Tanzania.
Methods
We used qualitative and quantitative descriptive methods to assess school pupils' knowledge of safe motherhood and HIV/AIDS in pregnancy. An anonymous questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge of 135 pupils ranging in age from 9 to 17 years. The pupils were randomly selected from 3 primary schools. Underlying beliefs and attitudes were assessed through focus group interviews with 35 school children. Key informant interviews were conducted with six schoolteachers, two community leaders, and two health staffs.
Results
Knowledge about safe motherhood and other related aspects was generally low. While 67% of pupils could not mention the age at which a girl may be able to conceive, 80% reported it is safe for a girl to be married before she reaches 18 years. Strikingly, many school pupils believed that complications during pregnancy and childbirth are due to non-observance of traditions and taboos during pregnancy. Birth preparedness, important risk factors, danger signs, postpartum care and vertical transmission of HIV/AIDS and its prevention measures were almost unknown to the pupils.
Conclusion
Poor knowledge of safe motherhood issues among school pupils in rural Tanzania is related to lack of effective and coordinated interventions to address reproductive health and motherhood. For long-term and sustained impact, school children must be provided with appropriate safe motherhood information as early as possible through innovative school-based interventions.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-5
PMCID: PMC1868762  PMID: 17456230
14.  How much time do health services spend on antenatal care? Implications for the introduction of the focused antenatal care model in Tanzania 
Background
Antenatal care (ANC) is a widely used strategy to improve the health of pregnant women and to encourage skilled care during childbirth. In 2002, the Ministry of Health of the United Republic of Tanzania developed a national adaptation plan based on the new model of the World Health Organisation (WHO). In this study we assess the time health workers currently spent on providing ANC services and compare it to the requirements anticipated for the new ANC model in order to identify the implications of Focused ANC on health care providers' workload.
Methods
Health workers in four dispensaries in Mtwara Urban District, Southern Tanzania, were observed while providing routine ANC. The time used for the overall activity as well as for the different, specific components of 71 ANC service provisions was measured in detail; 28 of these were first visits and 43 revisits. Standard time requirements for the provision of focused ANC were assessed through simulated consultations based on the new guidelines.
Results
The average time health workers currently spend for providing ANC service to a first visit client was found to be 15 minutes; the provision of ANC according to the focused ANC model was assessed to be 46 minutes. For a revisiting client the difference between current practise and the anticipated standard of the new model was 27 minutes (9 vs. 36 min.). The major discrepancy between the two procedures was related to counselling. On average a first visit client was counselled for 1:30 minutes, while counselling in revisiting clients did hardly take place at all. The simulation of focused ANC revealed that proper counselling would take about 15 minutes per visit.
Conclusion
While the introduction of focused ANC has the potential to improve the health of pregnant women and to raise the number of births attended by skilled staff in Tanzania, it may need additional investment in human resources. The generally anticipated saving effect of the new model through the reduction of routine consultations may not materialise because the number of consultations is already low in Tanzania with a median of only 4 visits per pregnancy. Special attention needs to be given to counselling attitudes and skills during the training for Focused ANC as this component is identified as the major difference between old practise and the new model. Our estimated requirement of 46 minutes per first visit consultation matches well with the WHO estimate of 40 minutes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-6-22
PMCID: PMC1557863  PMID: 16796749

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