Perceived barriers to utilization of maternal health services in rural Cambodia

Sadatoshi Matsuoka, Hirotsugu Aiga, Lon Chan Rasmey, Tung Rathavy, Akiko Okitsu
Health Policy 2010, 95 (2-3): 255-63

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify the underlying causes of Cambodian women's non-use of maternal health services provided by skilled birth attendants.

METHOD: A qualitative study of 66 reproductive-age women was conducted in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia. Data were collected through 30 semi-structured interviews and 6 focus groups.

RESULTS: We identified 5 barriers to the utilization of maternal health services: (i) financial barriers; (ii) physical barriers; (iii) cognitive barriers; (iv) organizational barriers; and (v) psychological and socio-cultural barriers.

CONCLUSIONS: The Cambodian Ministry of Health and its development partners should take these barriers into account when promoting the use of maternal health services. These barriers should be addressed proactively. A successful approach to increasing use of maternal health services should involve changes to both service programs and public education.

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