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Effectiveness of Maternity Waiting Areas in Improving Access to Obstetric Care in Ethiopia

Most maternal deaths that occur in sub Saharan Africa are due to conditions that are preventable through timely detection and management at health facilities. In Ethiopia, only 15% of women gave birth at health facilities in 2014. Large distances to health facilities, prohibitive transport costs, low decision-making power among women and poor awareness about risks were some of the reasons for low service utilization. Women often delay accessing services when complications arise or they are already in labour. Maternity waiting areas provide women a temporary residence near health facilities as they await their due date. They can be monitored by midwives, engage in group activities and rest before delivery. Coupled with community education, these spaces have the potential to improve women's access to timely obstetric care. Currently, most evidence about the potential benefit of these shelters comes from observational studies which are often influenced by factors other than those under investigation. A trial is being conducted in Jimma Zone, Ethiopia to understand what influences use of maternal health care services and how effective maternity waiting areas and community education are in improving coverage of services. The trial will facilitate the adoption of evidence-based policies around maternity waiting areas and related community education.


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: 28 Jun '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: 28 Jun '17

Reaching the unreached through trained and skilled birth attendants in Ethiopia: a cluster randomized controlled trial study protocol.

Abstract: Despite improvements since 1990 to 2014, maternal mortality ratio (MMR) remains high in Ethiopia. One of the key drivers of maternal mortality in Ethiopia is the very low coverage of Skilled Birth attendance (SBA) in rural Ethiopia. This cluster randomized trial piloted an innovative approach of deploying trained community reproductive nurses (CORN) to hard to reach/unreachable rural Ethiopia to improve the coverage of SBA.We used a three-arm cluster randomized trial to test the effect of deploying CORN in rural communities in South Ethiopia to improve SBA and other maternal health indicators. A total of 282 villages/clusters (94 from each arm) were randomly selected in the three districts of the zone for the study. The intervention was implemented in four consecutive phases that aimed at of provision of essential maternal, neonatal and child health (MNCH) services mainly focusing on SBA. The CORN were trained and deployed in health centres (arm 1) and in the community/health posts (arm2). A third arm (arm 3) consisting control villages without the intervention. A baseline and end line assessment was conducted to compare the difference in the proportion of SBA and other MNCH service uptake across the three arms Data was entered into computer, edited, cleaned, and analyzed using Epi-data statistical software. The presentation followed the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) statement guidelines for cluster-randomized trials.This trial is designed to test the impact of an innovative and newly designed means of distribution for the national health extension program strategy with additional service package with no change to the target population. The focus is on effect of CORN in revitalizing the Health Extension Program (HEP) through improving SBA service uptake and other maternal health service uptake indicators. The study findings may guide national policy to strengthen and shape the already existing HEP that has certain limitations to improve maternal health indicators. The competency based training methodology could provide feedback for health science colleges to improve the national nursing or midwifery training curriculum.clinicaltrails.gov NCT02501252 dated on July 14, 2015.

Pub.: 27 Jan '17, Pinned: 28 Jun '17

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: 28 Jun '17

Skilled delivery inequality in Ethiopia: to what extent are the poorest and uneducated mothers benefiting?

Abstract: The fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targeted at improving maternal health. In this regard, Ethiopia has shown substantial progresses in the past two decades. Nonetheless, these impressive gains are unevenly distributed among Ethiopian women with different socio-economic characteristics. This study aimed at investigating levels and trends of skilled delivery service, and wealth and education related inequalities from 2000 to 16.Longitudinal data analysis was conducted on Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) data of 2000, 2005, 2011 and 2016. The outcome variable was skilled delivery, while data on economic status and education level were used as dimensions of inequality. Rate Ratio (RR) and Rate Difference (RD) inequality measures were applied. STATA for windows version 10.1 statistical software was utilized for data analysis and presentation. The strength of association of inequality dimensions with the outcome variable was assessed using a 95% confidence interval.From total deliveries, 5.62%, 6.3%, 10.8% and 28% of them were attended by skilled birth attendant in 2000, 2005, 2011 and 2016 respectively. In the most recent survey (EDHS 2016), proportion of births attended by skilled birth attendance among women who completed secondary and above education was about 5.42 [95% CI (4.53, 6.09)] times more when compared to women with no formal education. Proportion of births attended by skilled birth attendance among women in the richest quintile was about 5.11 [95% CI (3.98, 6.12)] times higher than that of women in the poorest quintile. Moreover, gap of inequality on receiving skilled delivery service has increased substantially from 24.2 (2000) to 53.8 (2016) percentage points between women in the richest and poorest quintiles; and from 44.9 (2000) to 76.0 (2016) percentage points between women who completed secondary and above education and women with no formal education.Skilled birth attendance remained low and virtually unchanged during the period 2000-2011, but increased substantially in 2016. Gap on wealth and education related inequalities increased linearly during 2000-16. Most pronounced inequalities were observed in women's level of education revealing women with no formal education were the most underserved subgroups. Encouraging women in education and economic development programs should be strengthened as part of the effort to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Ethiopia.

Pub.: 18 May '17, Pinned: 28 Jun '17