Poor linkages in maternal health care services-evidence on antenatal care and institutional delivery from a community-based longitudinal study in Tigray region, Ethiopia

Yohannes Adama Melaku, Berhe Weldearegawi, Fisaha Haile Tesfay, Semaw Ferede Abera, Loko Abraham, Alemseged Aregay, Yemane Ashebir, Friehiwot Eshetu, Ashenafi Haile, Yihunie Lakew, John Kinsman
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14: 418

BACKGROUND: Progress towards attaining the maternal mortality and maternal health targets set by Millennium Development Goal 5 has been slow in most African countries. Assessing antenatal care and institutional delivery service utilization and their determinants is an important step towards improving maternal health care services.

METHODS: Data were drawn from the longitudinal database of Kilite-Awlaelo Health and Demographic Surveillance System. A total of 2361 mothers who were pregnant and who gave birth between September 2009 and August 2013 were included in the analysis. Potential variables to explain antenatal care and institutional delivery service utilization were extracted, and descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to determine the magnitude of maternal health care service utilization and associated factors, respectively.

RESULTS: More than three-quarters, 76% [95% CI: 74.8%-78.2%] (n = 1806), of mothers had undergone at least one antenatal care visit during their previous pregnancy. However, only 27% [95% CI: 25.3%-28.9%] (n = 639) of mothers gave birth at a health institution. Older mothers, urban residents, mothers with higher education attainment, and farmer mothers were more likely to use antenatal care. Institutional delivery services were more likely to be used among older mothers, urban residents, women with secondary education, mothers who visited antenatal care, and mothers with lower parity.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite a relatively high proportion of mothers attending antenatal care services at least once, we found low levels of institutional delivery service utilization. Health service providers in Kilite-Awlaelo should be particularly vigilant regarding the additional maternal health needs of rural and less educated women with high parity.

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