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Determinants of use of maternal health services in Nigeria - looking beyond individual and household factors

, 1 , 2

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

BioMed Central

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      Abstract

      Background

      Utilization of maternal health services is associated with improved maternal and neonatal health outcomes. Considering global and national interests in the Millennium Development Goal and Nigeria's high level of maternal mortality, understanding the factors affecting maternal health use is crucial. Studies on the use of maternal care services have largely overlooked community and other contextual factors. This study examined the determinants of maternal services utilization in Nigeria, with a focus on individual, household, community and state-level factors.

      Methods

      Data from the 2005 National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey - an interviewer-administered nationally representative survey - were analyzed to identify individual, household and community factors that were significantly associated with utilization of maternal care services among 2148 women who had a baby during the five years preceding the survey. In view of the nested nature of the data, we used multilevel analytic methods and assessed state-level random effects.

      Results

      Approximately three-fifths (60.3%) of the mothers used antenatal services at least once during their most recent pregnancy, while 43.5% had skilled attendants at delivery and 41.2% received postnatal care. There are commonalities and differences in the predictors of the three indicators of maternal health service utilization. Education is the only individual-level variable that is consistently a significant predictor of service utilization, while socio-economic level is a consistent significant predictor at the household level. At the community level, urban residence and community media saturation are consistently strong predictors. In contrast, some factors are significant in predicting one or more of the indicators of use but not for all. These inconsistent predictors include some individual level variables (the woman's age at the birth of the last child, ethnicity, the notion of ideal family size, and approval of family planning), a community-level variable (prevalence of the small family norm in the community), and a state-level variable (ratio of PHC to the population).

      Conclusion

      Factors influencing maternal health services utilization operate at various levels - individual, household, community and state. Depending on the indicator of maternal health services, the relevant determinants vary. Effective interventions to promote maternal health service utilization should target the underlying individual, household, community and policy-level factors. The interventions should reflect the relative roles of the various underlying factors.

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      Most cited references 74

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      4 million neonatal deaths: when? Where? Why?

      The proportion of child deaths that occurs in the neonatal period (38% in 2000) is increasing, and the Millennium Development Goal for child survival cannot be met without substantial reductions in neonatal mortality. Every year an estimated 4 million babies die in the first 4 weeks of life (the neonatal period). A similar number are stillborn, and 0.5 million mothers die from pregnancy-related causes. Three-quarters of neonatal deaths happen in the first week--the highest risk of death is on the first day of life. Almost all (99%) neonatal deaths arise in low-income and middle-income countries, yet most epidemiological and other research focuses on the 1% of deaths in rich countries. The highest numbers of neonatal deaths are in south-central Asian countries and the highest rates are generally in sub-Saharan Africa. The countries in these regions (with some exceptions) have made little progress in reducing such deaths in the past 10-15 years. Globally, the main direct causes of neonatal death are estimated to be preterm birth (28%), severe infections (26%), and asphyxia (23%). Neonatal tetanus accounts for a smaller proportion of deaths (7%), but is easily preventable. Low birthweight is an important indirect cause of death. Maternal complications in labour carry a high risk of neonatal death, and poverty is strongly associated with an increased risk. Preventing deaths in newborn babies has not been a focus of child survival or safe motherhood programmes. While we neglect these challenges, 450 newborn children die every hour, mainly from preventable causes, which is unconscionable in the 21st century.
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        Dimensions of women's autonomy and the influence on maternal health care utilization in a north Indian city.

        The dimensions of women's autonomy and their relationship to maternal health care utilization were investigated in a probability sample of 300 women in Varanasi, India. We examined the determinants of women's autonomy in three areas: control over finances, decision-making power, and freedom of movement. After we control for age, education, household structure, and other factors, women with closer ties to natal kin were more likely to have greater autonomy in each of these three areas. Further analyses demonstrated that women with greater freedom of movement obtained higher levels of antenatal care and were more likely to use safe delivery care. The influence of women's autonomy on the use of health care appears to be as important as other known determinants such as education.
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          Multilevel Modeling for Binary Data

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
            [2 ]Department of Community Health, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
            Contributors
            Journal
            BMC Pregnancy Childbirth
            BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
            BioMed Central
            1471-2393
            2009
            15 September 2009
            : 9
            : 43
            2754433
            1471-2393-9-43
            19754941
            10.1186/1471-2393-9-43
            Copyright © 2009 Babalola and Fatusi; 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.

            Categories
            Research Article

            Obstetrics & Gynecology

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