Call Us: +233-0266-839961 | 0503 030999

One out of two Ghanaian women fail to seek antenatal care during first three months of pregnancy - Study reveals


pregnant womanA recent study reveals that although 96.5% of Ghanaian women attended antenatal care (ANC) visit, many (42.7%) did so late (after the first trimester), while 36.5% had delivery without the assistance of a trained personnel or anyone (5.9%) according to researchers from University of Cape Coast, University of Tampere, Finland and Regent University College of Science and Technology.

 

Even though there are many health-enhancing benefits derived from ante natal care, such as the detection of problems that may arise during a pregnancy, as well as the immunization of pregnant women against some of the childhood killer diseases, this  recent study shows that many Ghanaian women are missing the opportunity that antenatal care offers.

A new study released Nov. 7, 2012 examined the factors associated with reproductive health care utilization among Ghanaian women and determined that despite the relatively high antenatal care utilisation among Ghanaian women, significant variations exist across the socio-demographic spectrum.

Based on data provided by the 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) researchers from the University of Cape Coast, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland, and the Department of Human Development and Psychology, Regent University of Science and Technology, Accra, Ghana, found that although majority of Ghanaian women attended ANC visit (96.5%) many (42.7%) did so late (after the first trimester), while 36.5% had delivery without the assistance of a trained personnel (30.6%) or anyone (5.9%).

As part of the analysis, over 12000 households were selected for the survey. Each household selected for the GDHS was eligible for interview with the household questionnaire, and a total of 11,778 households were interviewed. In half of the households selected for the survey, all eligible women aged 15-49-year-old were interviewed with the questionnaire. A total of 4,916 women aged 15-49-year old were interviewed. The data collection took place over a three-month period, from early September to late November, 2008.

The analysis was restricted to the most recent birth of 15-49-year old women who gave live births within the five years preceding the survey. The study protocol was approved by the Ghana Health Service Ethical Review Committee in Accra, Ghana.

The results of the study are described in a research article “Factors associated with reproductive health care utilization among Ghanaian women” published by BMC International Health and Human Rights, an open access journal, publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in relation to health and disease in developing and transitional countries.

The study's main findings can be summarized as follows:

  • Majority of Ghanaian women attended ANC visit (96.5%)
  • 42.7% of Ghanaian women did so late (after the first trimester),
  • 36.5% had delivery without the assistance of a trained personnel
  • 5.9% had delivery without any assistance.
  • Age, place of residence, education and partner’s education were associated with having a delivery assisted by a trained assistant.
  • Christians (OR=1.8, CI=1.1-3.0) and Moslems (OR=1.9, CI=1.1-3.3) were more likely to have trained delivery assistants compared to their counterparts who practised traditional religion.
  • the richer a woman the more likely that she would have delivery assisted by a trained personnel
  • Despite the relatively high antenatal care utilisation among Ghanaian women, significant variations exist across the socio-demographic spectrum. Furthermore, a large number of women failed to meet the WHO recommendation to attend antenatal care within the first trimester of pregnancy.

The researchers are David Doku, PhD, of the Department of Population and Health, University of Cape Coast, Subas Neupane, PhD, of the School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland and Paul Narh Doku, PhD, of the Department of Human Development Psychology, Regent University of Science and Technology, Accra, Ghana. They concluded the study by suggesting that the  findings should be taken into consideration when designing programmes aimed at promoting antenatal care utilisation across the socio-demographic spectrum.

These findings also have important policy implications for meeting the Millennium Development Goal 5 of improving maternal health by reducing maternal mortality ratio by three quarters by 2015.

The following recommendations were made in the study:

  • Health education programmes should be undertaken to improve women’s awareness of ANC.
  • The Ministry of Health should provide mobile ANC services similar to the mobile postnatal “weighing services” that are provided in communities. This will enable remote communities to access the services. The training of traditional birth attendants is also recommended.

The article can be downloaded at: http://repository.regentghana.net:8080/jspui/handle/123456789/273