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Why do women prefer home births in Ethiopia?

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      BackgroundSkilled attendants during labor, delivery, and in the early postpartum period, can prevent up to 75% or more of maternal death. However, in many developing countries, very few mothers make at least one antenatal visit and even less receive delivery care from skilled professionals. The present study reports findings from a region where key challenges related to transportation and availability of obstetric services were addressed by an ongoing project, giving a unique opportunity to understand why women might continue to prefer home delivery even when facility based delivery is available at minimal cost.MethodsThe study took place in Ethiopia using a mixed study design employing a cross sectional household survey among 15–49 year old women combined with in-depth interviews and focus group discussions.ResultsSeventy one percent of mothers received antenatal care from a health professional (doctor, health officer, nurse, or midwife) for their most recent birth in the one year preceding the survey. Overall only 16% of deliveries were assisted by health professionals, while a significant majority (78%) was attended by traditional birth attendants. The most important reasons for not seeking institutional delivery were the belief that it is not necessary (42%) and not customary (36%), followed by high cost (22%) and distance or lack of transportation (8%). The group discussions and interviews identified several reasons for the preference of traditional birth attendants over health facilities. Traditional birth attendants were seen as culturally acceptable and competent health workers. Women reported poor quality of care and previous negative experiences with health facilities. In addition, women’s low awareness on the advantages of skilled attendance at delivery, little role in making decisions (even when they want), and economic constraints during referral contribute to the low level of service utilization.ConclusionsThe study indicated the crucial role of proper health care provider-client communication and providing a more client centered and culturally sensitive care if utilization of existing health facilities is to be maximized. Implications of findings for maternal health programs and further research are discussed.

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        Maternal mortality remains a major challenge to health systems worldwide. Reliable information about the rates and trends in maternal mortality is essential for resource mobilisation, and for planning and assessment of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG 5), the target for which is a 75% reduction in the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) from 1990 to 2015. We assessed levels and trends in maternal mortality for 181 countries. We constructed a database of 2651 observations of maternal mortality for 181 countries for 1980-2008, from vital registration data, censuses, surveys, and verbal autopsy studies. We used robust analytical methods to generate estimates of maternal deaths and the MMR for each year between 1980 and 2008. We explored the sensitivity of our data to model specification and show the out-of-sample predictive validity of our methods. We estimated that there were 342,900 (uncertainty interval 302,100-394,300) maternal deaths worldwide in 2008, down from 526,300 (446,400-629,600) in 1980. The global MMR decreased from 422 (358-505) in 1980 to 320 (272-388) in 1990, and was 251 (221-289) per 100,000 livebirths in 2008. The yearly rate of decline of the global MMR since 1990 was 1.3% (1.0-1.5). During 1990-2008, rates of yearly decline in the MMR varied between countries, from 8.8% (8.7-14.1) in the Maldives to an increase of 5.5% (5.2-5.6) in Zimbabwe. More than 50% of all maternal deaths were in only six countries in 2008 (India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). In the absence of HIV, there would have been 281 500 (243,900-327,900) maternal deaths worldwide in 2008. Substantial, albeit varied, progress has been made towards MDG 5. Although only 23 countries are on track to achieve a 75% decrease in MMR by 2015, countries such as Egypt, China, Ecuador, and Bolivia have been achieving accelerated progress. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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          Women's preferences for place of delivery in rural Tanzania: a population-based discrete choice experiment.

          We fielded a population-based discrete choice experiment (DCE) in rural western Tanzania, where only one third of women deliver children in a health facility, to evaluate health-system factors that influence women's delivery decisions. Women were shown choice cards that described 2 hypothetical health centers by means of 6 attributes (distance, cost, type of provider, attitude of provider, drugs and equipment, free transport). The women were then asked to indicate which of the 2 facilities they would prefer to use for a future delivery. We used a hierarchical Bayes procedure to estimate individual and mean utility parameters. A total of 1203 women completed the DCE. The model showed good predictive validity for actual facility choice. The most important facility attributes were a respectful provider attitude and availability of drugs and medical equipment. Policy simulations suggested that if these attributes were improved at existing facilities, the proportion of women preferring facility delivery would rise from 43% to 88%. In regions in which attended delivery rates are low despite availability of primary care facilities, policy experiments should test the effect of targeted quality improvements on facility use.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, PO Box 9086, code 1000, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
            [2 ]Department of General Practice, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands
            [3 ]Department of General Practice, Tromso University, Tromso, Norway
            [4 ]Technical Advisor-GCACP, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Nairobi, Kenya
            [5 ]UNFPA-Ethiopia Country Office, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
            BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
            BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
            BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
            BioMed Central
            16 January 2013
            : 13
            : 5
            Copyright ©2013 Shiferaw et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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