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PhD Student, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


A scoping review to generate the best available evidence on use of maternal health services

ABSTRACT Background: Poor access and low utilization of maternal health services by adolescent mothers is a major public health concern in sub-Saharan Africa. Underutilization of such services is due in part to fear of being stigmatized and embarrassed for being pregnant, perceived lack of confidentiality and privacy, cost and distance to access services. To the best of our knowledge no scoping review has been undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa on this issue. Objectives: To generate the best available evidence on factors influencing access and utilization of maternal health services by adolescent mothers in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: A three-step search strategy will be employed. An initial limited search of MEDLINE and GLOBAL HEALTH (CABI) will be followed by an analysis of the text words contained in the title and abstract, and of the key terms used to define the papers. A second a search will use all identified keywords and index terms across other included databases (PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge, PsycINFO, Embase, CINAHL and POPLINE). Thirdly, the reference list of all identified reports and articles will be searched. Study selection will be limited to the English language but not by any time period. Authors of primary studies will be contacted for further information if the need be. Comprehensive findings will be placed in defined categories in a table of results. Anticipated findings: Socio-demographic, cultural, economic, and other factors that facilitate or inhibit adolescent mothers’ access and use of maternal health services. Recommendations on further reviews, primary studies, possible interventions and policy directions will be made based on findings of this review.


Factors influencing utilisation of maternal health services by adolescent mothers in Low-and middle-income countries: a systematic review.

Abstract: Adolescent mothers aged 15-19 years are known to have greater risks of maternal morbidity and mortality compared with women aged 20-24 years, mostly due to their unique biological, sociological and economic status. Nowhere Is the burden of disease greater than in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Understanding factors that influence adolescent utilisation of essential maternal health services (MHS) would be critical in improving their outcomes.We systematically reviewed the literature for articles published until December 2015 to understand how adolescent MHS utilisation has been assessed in LMICs and factors affecting service utilisation by adolescent mothers. Following data extraction, we reported on the geographical distribution and characteristics of the included studies and used thematic summaries to summarise our key findings across three key themes: factors affecting MHS utilisation considered by researcher(s), factors assessed as statistically significant, and other findings on MHS utilisation.Our findings show that there has been minimal research in this study area. 14 studies, adjudged as medium to high quality met our inclusion criteria. Studies have been published in many LMICs, with the first published in 2006. Thirteen studies used secondary data for assessment, data which was more than 5 years old at time of analysis. Ten studies included only married adolescent mothers. While factors such as wealth quintile, media exposure and rural/urban residence were commonly adjudged as significant, education of the adolescent mother and her partner were the commonest significant factors that influenced MHS utilisation. Use of antenatal care also predicted use of skilled birth attendance and use of both predicted use of postnatal care. However, there may be some context-specific factors that need to be considered.Our findings strengthen the need to lay emphasis on improving girl child education and removing financial barriers to their access to MHS. Opportunities that have adolescents engaging with health providers also need to be seized. These will be critical in improving adolescent MHS utilisation. However, policy and programmatic choices need to be based on recent, relevant and robust datasets. Innovative approaches that leverage new media to generate context-specific dis-aggregated data may provide a way forward.

Pub.: 18 Feb '17, Pinned: 01 Jul '17

Factors that hinder or enable maternal health strategies to reduce delays in rural and pastoralist areas in Ethiopia.

Abstract: To document factors that hinder or enable strategies to reduce the first and second delays of the Three Delays in rural and pastoralist areas in Ethiopia.A key informant study was conducted with 44 Health Extension Workers in Afar Region, Kafa Zone (Southern Nation, Nationalities and Peoples' Region), and Adwa Woreda (Tigray Region). Health Extension Workers were trained to interview women and ask for stories about their recent experiences of birth. We interviewed the Health Extension Workers about their experiences referring women for Skilled Birth Attendance and Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.Themes related to reducing the first delay, such as the tradition of home birth, decision making, distance and unavailability of transport, did not differ between the three locations. Themes related to reducing the second delay differed substantially. Health Extension Workers in Adwa Woreda were more likely to call ambulances due to support from the Health Development Army and a functioning referral system. In Kafa Zone, some Health Extension Workers were discouraged from calling ambulances as they were used for other purposes. In Afar Region, few Health Extension Workers were called to assist women as most women give birth at home with Traditional Birth Attendants unless they need to travel to health facilities for Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care.Initiatives to reduce delays can improve access to maternal health services, especially when Health Extension Workers are supported by the Health Development Army and a functioning referral system, but district (woreda) health offices should ensure that ambulances are used as intended. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Pub.: 26 Nov '16, Pinned: 01 Jul '17

Impact of free delivery policy on utilization of maternal health services in county referral hospitals in Kenya.

Abstract: Kenya has a high maternal mortality rate. Provision of skilled delivery plays a major role in reducing maternal mortality. Cost is a hindrance to the utilization of skilled delivery. The Government of Kenya introduced a policy of free delivery services in government facilities beginning June 2013. We sought to determine the impact of this intervention on facility based deliveries in Kenya.We compared deliveries and antenatal attendance in 47 county referral hospitals and 30 low cost private hospitals not participating in the free delivery policy for 2013 and 2014 respectively. The data was extracted from the Kenya Health Information System. Multiple regression was done to assess factors influencing increase in number of deliveries among the county referral hospitals.The number of deliveries and antenatal attendance increased by 26.8% and 16.2% in county referral hospitals and decreased by 11.9% and 5.4% respectively in low cost private hospitals. Increase in deliveries among county referral hospitals was influenced by population size of county and type of county referral hospital. Counties with level 5 hospitals recorded more deliveries compared to those with level 4 hospitals.This intervention increased the number of facility based deliveries. Policy makers may consider incorporating low cost private hospitals so as to increase the coverage of this intervention.

Pub.: 24 Jun '17, Pinned: 01 Jul '17

Prenatal exposure to antibiotics, cesarean section and risk of childhood obesity.

Abstract: Cesarean section (CS) and antibiotic use during pregnancy may alter normal maternal-offspring microbiota exchange, thereby contributing to aberrant microbial colonization of the infant gut and increased susceptibility to obesity later in life. We hypothesized that (i) maternal use of antibiotics in the second or third trimester of pregnancy and (ii) CS are independently associated with higher risk of childhood obesity in the offspring.Of the 727 mothers enrolled in the Northern Manhattan Mothers and Children Study, we analyzed the 436 mother-child dyads followed until 7 years of age with complete data. We ascertained prenatal antibiotic use by a questionnaire administered late in the third trimester, and delivery mode by medical record. We derived age- and sex-specific body mass index (BMI) z-scores using the CDC SAS Macro, and defined obesity as BMI z⩾95th percentile. We used binary regression with robust variance and linear regression models adjusted for maternal age, ethnicity, pre-gravid BMI, maternal receipt of public assistance, birth weight, sex, breastfeeding in the first year and gestational antibiotics or delivery mode.Compared with children not exposed to antibiotics during the second or third trimester, those exposed had 84% (33-154%) higher risk of obesity, after multivariable adjustment. Second or third trimester antibiotic exposure was also positively associated with BMI z-scores, waist circumference and % body fat (all P<0.05). Independent of prenatal antibiotic usage, CS was associated with 46% (8-98%) higher offspring risk of childhood obesity. Associations were similar for elective and non-elective CS.In our cohort, CS and exposure to antibiotics in the second or third trimester were associated with higher offspring risk of childhood obesity. Future studies that address the limitations of our study are warranted to determine if prenatal antibiotic use is associated with offspring obesity. Research is also needed to determine if alterations in neonatal gut microbiota underlie the observed associations.

Pub.: 10 Oct '14, Pinned: 19 Jun '17

Association between Breastfeeding and Childhood Obesity: Analysis of a Linked Longitudinal Study of Rural Appalachian Fifth-Grade Children.

Abstract: Although breastfeeding is associated with improving numerous health outcomes for the child, its role in reducing childhood obesity is contested. Despite this controversy, both the CDC and the US Department of Health and Human Services promote breastfeeding as one of the strategies for reducing childhood obesity. Rural Appalachia has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity and low rates of breastfeeding, compared to rest of the nation. The aim of this study was to examine the association between breastfeeding and childhood obesity at 11 years in the rural Appalachian state of West Virginia (WV).The study used linked data from two cross-sectional data sets to examine this relationship longitudinally in fifth-grade WV children. The main outcome variable was BMI adjusted percent (BMI%) and the main exposure was defined as occurrence of breastfeeding. Mean BMI% of children who were not breastfed was significantly higher, compared to children who were breastfed.The result of the multiple regression analysis showed that breastfeeding significantly predicted BMI% of children after controlling for maternal education, health insurance, family history of hypercholesterolemia and diabetes, child's asthma status, and birth weight of the infant.Our results are consistent with other studies that have shown a significant, but small, inverse association between breastfeeding and childhood obesity. Findings from this study suggest the need to improve breastfeeding rates in the rural Appalachian state of WV as one of the potential strategies to prevent obesity during childhood and adolescence.

Pub.: 18 Jul '15, Pinned: 19 Jun '17