Socio-economic disadvantage and quality Antenatal Care (ANC) in Sierra Leone: Evidence from Demographic and Health Survey

Kwamena Sekyi DICKSON, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, Mawulorm AKPEKE, Barbara Elorm MOTTEY, Kenneth Setorwu ADDE*, Kobina ESIA-DONKOH

*Corresponding author for this work

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

5 Citations (Scopus)


Reduction of maternal mortality remains a global priority as highlighted by the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). This is critical in the case of Sierra Leone as the country is one of three (3) countries with the highest maternal mortality ratio globally, thus 1,120 per 100,000 live births. The approximate lifetime risk of maternal mortality in the country is 1 in 17, relative to 1 in 3,300 in high-income countries. These raise doubt about the quality of the continuum of maternal healthcare in the country, particularly antenatal care and as a result, the objective of the present study is to investigate the association between socio-economic disadvantage and quality antenatal care service utilisation as well as associated correlates in Sierra Leone.

Materials and methods
The study used data from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) of Sierra Leone. Only women who had given birth in the five years preceding the survey were included, which is 6,028. Quality antenatal care was defined as receipt of recommended ANC services including uptake of recommended pregnancy drugs (e.g. Fansidar and iron supplement); injections (e.g. tetanus injection) and having some samples (e.g. blood and urine sample) and health status indicators (e.g. blood pressure) taken. An index was created from these indicators with scores ranging from 0 to 6. The scores 0 to 5 were labelled as “incomplete” and 6 was labelled as “complete” and this was used to create a dummy variable. In analysing the data, descriptive analysis was done using chi-square test as well as an inferential analysis using bivariate and multivariate models.

Socio-economic disadvantaged [1.46 (1.09, 1.95), place of residence [2.29 (1.43, 3.67)], frequency of listening to radio [1.58 (1.20, 2.09)], health insurance coverage [3.48 (1.40, 8.64)], getting medical help for self: permission to go [0.53(0.42, 0.69) were seen to have significant relationship with quality of ANC utilized by women during pregnancy. Also, women Mende ethnicity are more likely to utilise quality ANC compared to women from the Temne ethnicity [2.58 (1.79, 3.72)].

Policy makers could consider measures to boost patronage of quality ANC in Sierra Leone by targeting the socio-economically disadvantaged women. Targeting these sub-groups with pro- maternal and child health (MCH) interventions would help Sierra Leone achieve Goal 3 of the SDGs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0280061
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We express our profound gratitude to the DHS Program for granting access to the dataset.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2023 Dickson et al. 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 author and source are credited.


  • Child
  • Female
  • Pregnancy
  • Humans
  • Prenatal Care
  • Sierra Leone/epidemiology
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Parturition
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Maternal Health Services


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