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Barriers to using skilled birth attendants’ services in mid- and far-western Nepal: a cross-sectional study

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      Abstract

      Background

      Skilled birth attendants (SBAs) provide important interventions that improve maternal and neonatal health and reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. However, utilization and coverage of services by SBAs remain poor, especially in rural and remote areas of Nepal. This study examined the characteristics associated with utilization of SBA services in mid- and far-western Nepal.

      Methods

      This cross-sectional study examined three rural and remote districts of mid- and far-western Nepal (i.e., Kanchanpur, Dailekh and Bajhang), representing three ecological zones (southern plains [Tarai], hill and mountain, respectively) with low utilization of services by SBAs. Enumerators assisted a total of 2,481 women. All respondents had delivered a baby within the past 12 months. We used bivariate and multivariate analyses to assess the association between antenatal and delivery care visits and the women’s background characteristics.

      Results

      Fifty-seven percent of study participants had completed at least four antenatal care visits and 48% delivered their babies with the assistance of SBAs. Knowing the danger signs of pregnancy and delivery (e.g., premature labor, prolonged labor, breech delivery, postpartum hemorrhage, severe headache) associated positively with four or more antenatal care visits (OR = 1.71; 95% CI: 1.41-2.07). Living less than 30 min from a health facility associated positively with increased use of both antenatal care (OR = 1.44; 95% CI: 1.18-1.77) and delivery services (OR = 1.25; CI: 1.03-1.52). Four or more antenatal care visits was a determining factor for the utilization of SBAs.

      Conclusions

      Less than half of the women in our study delivered babies with the aid of SBAs, indicating a need to increase utilization of such services in rural and remote areas of Nepal. Distance from health facilities and inadequate transportation pose major barriers to the utilization of SBAs. Providing women with transportation funds before they go to a facility for delivery and managing transportation options will increase service utilization. Moreover, SBA utilization associates positively with women’s knowledge of pregnancy danger signs, wealth quintile, and completed antenatal care visits. Nepal’s health system must develop strategies that generate demand for SBAs and also reduce financial, geographic and cultural barriers to such services.

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      Most cited references 13

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      Still too far to walk: Literature review of the determinants of delivery service use

      Background Skilled attendance at childbirth is crucial for decreasing maternal and neonatal mortality, yet many women in low- and middle-income countries deliver outside of health facilities, without skilled help. The main conceptual framework in this field implicitly looks at home births with complications. We expand this to include "preventive" facility delivery for uncomplicated childbirth, and review the kinds of determinants studied in the literature, their hypothesized mechanisms of action and the typical findings, as well as methodological difficulties encountered. Methods We searched PubMed and Ovid databases for reviews and ascertained relevant articles from these and other sources. Twenty determinants identified were grouped under four themes: (1) sociocultural factors, (2) perceived benefit/need of skilled attendance, (3) economic accessibility and (4) physical accessibility. Results There is ample evidence that higher maternal age, education and household wealth and lower parity increase use, as does urban residence. Facility use in the previous delivery and antenatal care use are also highly predictive of health facility use for the index delivery, though this may be due to confounding by service availability and other factors. Obstetric complications also increase use but are rarely studied. Quality of care is judged to be essential in qualitative studies but is not easily measured in surveys, or without linking facility records with women. Distance to health facilities decreases use, but is also difficult to determine. Challenges in comparing results between studies include differences in methods, context-specificity and the substantial overlap between complex variables. Conclusion Studies of the determinants of skilled attendance concentrate on sociocultural and economic accessibility variables and neglect variables of perceived benefit/need and physical accessibility. To draw valid conclusions, it is important to consider as many influential factors as possible in any analysis of delivery service use. The increasing availability of georeferenced data provides the opportunity to link health facility data with large-scale household data, enabling researchers to explore the influences of distance and service quality.
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        Where Do Poor Women in Developing Countries Give Birth? A Multi-Country Analysis of Demographic and Health Survey Data

        Background In 2008, over 300,000 women died during pregnancy or childbirth, mostly in poor countries. While there are proven interventions to make childbirth safer, there is uncertainty about the best way to deliver these at large scale. In particular, there is currently a debate about whether maternal deaths are more likely to be prevented by delivering effective interventions through scaled up facilities or via community-based services. To inform this debate, we examined delivery location and attendance and the reasons women report for giving birth at home. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted a secondary analysis of maternal delivery data from Demographic and Health Surveys in 48 developing countries from 2003 to the present. We stratified reported delivery locations by wealth quintile for each country and created weighted regional summaries. For sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where death rates are highest, we conducted a subsample analysis of motivations for giving birth at home. In SSA, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, more than 70% of all births in the lowest two wealth quintiles occurred at home. In SSA, 54.1% of the richest women reported using public facilities compared with only 17.7% of the poorest women. Among home births in SSA, 56% in the poorest quintile were unattended while 41% were attended by a traditional birth attendant (TBA); 40% in the wealthiest quintile were unattended, while 33% were attended by a TBA. Seven per cent of the poorest women reported cost as a reason for not delivering in a facility, while 27% reported lack of access as a reason. The most common reason given by both the poorest and richest women for not delivering in a facility was that it was deemed “not necessary” by a household decision maker. Among the poorest women, “not necessary” was given as a reason by 68% of women whose births were unattended and by 66% of women whose births were attended. Conclusions In developing countries, most poor women deliver at home. This suggests that, at least in the near term, efforts to reduce maternal deaths should prioritize community-based interventions aimed at making home births safer.
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          Determinants of Maternity Care Services Utilization among Married Adolescents in Rural India

          Background Coupled with the largest number of maternal deaths, adolescent pregnancy in India has received paramount importance due to early age at marriage and low contraceptive use. The factors associated with the utilization of maternal healthcare services among married adolescents in rural India are poorly discussed. Methodology/Principal Findings Using the data from third wave of National Family Health Survey (2005–06), available in public domain for the use by researchers, this paper examines the factors associated with the utilization of maternal healthcare services among married adolescent women (aged 15–19 years) in rural India. Three components of maternal healthcare service utilization were measured: full antenatal care, safe delivery, and postnatal care within 42 days of delivery for the women who gave births in the last five years preceding the survey. Considering the framework on causes of maternal mortality proposed by Thaddeus and Maine (1994), selected socioeconomic, demographic, and cultural factors influencing outcome events were included as the predictor variables. Bi-variate analyses including chi-square test to determine the difference in proportion, and logistic regression to understand the net effect of predictor variables on selected outcomes were applied. Findings indicate the significant differences in the use of selected maternal healthcare utilization by educational attainment, economic status and region of residence. Muslim women, and women belonged to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes are less likely to avail safe delivery services. Additionally, adolescent women from the southern region utilizing the highest maternal healthcare services than the other regions. Conclusions The present study documents several socioeconomic and cultural factors affecting the utilization of maternal healthcare services among rural adolescent women in India. The ongoing healthcare programs should start targeting household with married adolescent women belonging to poor and specific sub-groups of the population in rural areas to address the unmet need for maternal healthcare service utilization.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
            [2 ]Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Institute of Medicine at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
            [3 ]Nepal Public Health Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal
            [4 ]World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
            [5 ]Centre for Applied Biostatistics, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
            [6 ]Nordic School of Public Health NHV, Gothenburg, Sweden
            Contributors
            Journal
            BMC Int Health Hum Rights
            BMC Int Health Hum Rights
            BMC International Health and Human Rights
            BioMed Central
            1472-698X
            2013
            23 December 2013
            : 13
            : 49
            24365039
            3878020
            1472-698X-13-49
            10.1186/1472-698X-13-49
            Copyright © 2013 Choulagai et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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            Research Article

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