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Skilled Care at Birth among Rural Women in Nepal: Practice and Challenges

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      In Nepal, most births take place at home, and many, particularly in rural areas, are not attended by a skilled birth attendant. The main objectives of the study were to assess the use of skilled delivery care and barriers to access such care in a rural community and to assess health problems during delivery and seeking care. This cross-sectional study was carried out in two Village Development Committees in Nepal in 2006. In total, 150 women who had a live birth in the 24 months preceding the survey were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The sample population included married women aged 15-49 years. Forty-six (31%) women delivered their babies at hospital, and 104 (69%) delivered at home. The cost of delivery at hospital was significantly (p<0.001) higher than that of a delivery at home. Results of univariate analysis showed that women from Brahmin-Chhetri ethnicity, women with higher education or who were more skilled, whose husbands had higher education and more skilled jobs, had first or second childbirth, and having adverse previous obstetric history were associated with institutional delivery while women with higher education and having an adverse history of pregnancy outcome predicted the uptake of skilled delivery care in Nepal. The main perceived problems to access skilled delivery care were: distance to hospital, lack of transportation, lack of awareness on delivery care, and cost. The main reasons for seeking intrapartum care were long labour, retained placenta, and excessive bleeding. Only a quarter of women sought care immediately after problems occurred. The main reasons seeking care late were: the woman or her family not perceiving that there was a serious problem, distance to health facility, and lack of transport. The use of skilled birth attendants at delivery among rural women in Nepal is very poor. Home delivery by unskilled birth attendants is still a common practice among them. Many associated factors relating to the use of skilled delivery care that were identified included age, education and occupation of women, and education and occupation of husbands. Therefore, the availability of skilled delivery care services at the community, initiation of a primary health centre with skilled staff for delivery, and increasing awareness among women to seek skilled delivery care are the best solution.

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      Use of antenatal services and delivery care among women in rural western Kenya: a community based survey

      Background Improving maternal health is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals. We assessed provision and use of antenatal services and delivery care among women in rural Kenya to determine whether women were receiving appropriate care. Methods Population-based cross-sectional survey among women who had recently delivered. Results Of 635 participants, 90% visited the antenatal clinic (ANC) at least once during their last pregnancy (median number of visits 4). Most women (64%) first visited the ANC in the third trimester; a perceived lack of quality in the ANC was associated with a late first ANC visit (Odds ratio [OR] 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0–2.4). Women who did not visit an ANC were more likely to have 90%), but provision of other services was low, e.g. malaria prevention (21%), iron (53%) and folate (44%) supplementation, syphilis testing (19.4%) and health talks (14.4%). Eighty percent of women delivered outside a health facility; among these, traditional birth attendants assisted 42%, laypersons assisted 36%, while 22% received no assistance. Factors significantly associated with giving birth outside a health facility included: age ≥ 30 years, parity ≥ 5, low SES, 1 hour walking distance from the health facility. Women who delivered unassisted were more likely to be of parity ≥ 5 (AOR 5.7, 95% CI 2.8–11.6). Conclusion In this rural area, usage of the ANC was high, but this opportunity to deliver important health services was not fully utilized. Use of professional delivery services was low, and almost 1 out of 5 women delivered unassisted. There is an urgent need to improve this dangerous situation.
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        Institutional delivery in rural India: the relative importance of accessibility and economic status

        Background Skilled attendance at delivery is an important indicator in monitoring progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5 to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015. In addition to professional attention, it is important that mothers deliver their babies in an appropriate setting, where life saving equipment and hygienic conditions can also help reduce the risk of complications that may cause death or illness to mother and child. Over the past decade interest has grown in examining influences on care-seeking behavior and this study investigates the determinants of place of delivery in rural India, with a particular focus on assessing the relative importance of community access and economic status. Methods A descriptive analysis of trends in place of delivery using data from two national representative sample surveys in 1992 and 1998 is followed by a two-level (child/mother and community) random-effects logistical regression model using the second survey to investigate the determinants. Results In this investigation of institutional care seeking for child birth in rural India, economic status emerges as a more crucial determinant than access. Economic status is also the strongest influence on the choice between a private-for-profit or public facility amongst institutional births. Conclusion Greater availability of obstetric services will not alone solve the problem of low institutional delivery rates. This is particularly true for the use of private-for-profit institutions, in which the distance to services does not have a significant adjusted effect. In the light of these findings a focus on increasing demand for existing services seems the most rational action. In particular, financial constraints need to be addressed, and results support current trials of demand side financing in India.
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          Organizing delivery care: what works for safe motherhood?

          The various means of delivering essential obstetric services are described for settings in which the maternal mortality ratio is relatively low. This review yields four basic models of care, which are best described by organizational characteristics relating to where women give birth and who performs deliveries. In Model 1, deliveries are conducted at home by a community member who has received brief training. In Model 2, delivery takes place at home but is performed by a professional. In Model 3, delivery is performed by a professional in a basic essential obstetric care facility, and in Model 4 all women give birth in a comprehensive essential obstetric care facility with the help of professionals. In each of these models it is assumed that providers do not increase the risk to women, either iatrogenically or through traditional practices. Although there have been some successes with Model 1, there is no evidence that it can provide a maternal mortality ratio under 100 per 100,000 live births. If strong referral mechanisms are in place the introduction of a professional attendant can lead to a marked reduction in the maternal mortality ratio. Countries using Models 2-4, involving the use of professional attendants at delivery, have reduced maternal mortality ratios to 50 or less per 100,000. However, Model 4, although arguably the most advanced, does not necessarily reduce the maternal mortality ratio to less than 100 per 100,000. It appears that not all countries are ready to adopt Model 4, and its affordability by many developing countries is doubtful. There are few data making it possible to determine which configuration with professional attendance is the most cost-effective, and what the constraints are with respect to training, skill maintenance, supervision, regulation, acceptability to women, and other criteria. A successful transition to Models 2-4 requires strong links with the community through either traditional providers or popular demand.

            Author and article information

            1Section of Population Health, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
            2School of Health and Social Care, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK,
            3Mid-western Regional Hospital, Birendranagar, Surkhet, Nepal
            Author notes
            Correspondence and reprint requests should be addressed to: Mrs. Sulochana Dhakal Section of Population Health School of Medicine and Dentistry University of Aberdeen Aberdeen AB25 2ZD UK Email: dhakal_sulochana@
            J Health Popul Nutr
            Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition
            International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh
            August 2011
            : 29
            : 4
            : 371-378

            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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