Examining barriers to healthcare access and utilization of antenatal care services: evidence from demographic health surveys in sub-Saharan Africa

Bright Opoku AHINKORAH, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, Abdul Aziz SEIDU, Emmanuel Kolawole ODUSINA, Mpho KEETILE, Sanni YAYA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background

Antenatal care utilization is one of the means for reducing the high maternal mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa. This study examined the association between barriers to healthcare access and implementation of the 2016 WHO antenatal care services model among pregnant women seeking antenatal care in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods

This study considered only Demographic and Health Survey data collected in 2018 in sub-Saharan Africa. Hence, the Demographic and Health Survey data of four countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria, Mali, Guinea and Zambia) were used. A sample of 6761 from Nigeria, 1973 from Mali, 1690 from Guinea and 1570 from Zambia was considered. Antenatal care visits, categorized as < 8 visits or ≥8 visits, and time of the first antenatal care visit, categorized as ≤3 months or > 3 months (as per the WHO recommendations) were the outcome variables for this study. Both descriptive statistics and ordinal logistic regression were used to analyze the data. Crude odds ratios (cOR) and adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and p-values < 0.05 were used for the interpretation of results.

Results

With timing of antenatal care visits, getting money needed for treatment (aOR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.03–1.92) influenced early timing of antenatal care visits in Mali whereas getting permission to visit the health facility (aOR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.15–2.33) motivated women to have early timing of antenatal care visits in Guinea. We found that women who considered getting money needed for treatment as not a big problem in Nigeria were more likely to have the recommended number of antenatal care visits (aOR = 1.38, 95% CI= 1.11–1.73). On the contrary, in Guinea, Zambia and Mali, getting permission to visit health facilities, getting money for treatment, distance to the health facility and not wanting to go alone were not barriers to having ≥ 8 antenatal care visits.

Conclusion

Our study has emphasized the role played by barriers to healthcare access in antenatal care utilization across sub-Saharan African countries. There is the need for governmental and non-governmental organizations to ensure that policies geared towards improving the quality of antenatal care and promoting good interaction between health care seekers and health care providers are integrated within the health system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125
Number of pages16
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The authors thank the MEASURE DHS project for their support and for free access to the original data.

Keywords

  • Access
  • Antenatal care
  • Disparities
  • Health care
  • Health services
  • Inequalities
  • Sub-Saharan Africa; Global Health; public health
  • Utilization

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