On the way to universal coverage of maternal services in Iringa rural District in Tanzania. Who is yet to be reached?
Background: Strategies to tackle maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa include expanding coverage of reproductive services. Even where high, more vulnerable women may not access services. No data is available on high coverage determinants. We investigated this in Tanzania in a predicted high utilization area.
Methods: Data was collected through a household survey of 464 women with a recent delivery. Primary outcomes were facility delivery and ≥4 ANC visits. Determinants were analysed using multivariate regression.
Results: Almost all women had attended ANC, though only 58.3% had ≥4 visits. ≥4 visits were more likely in the youngest age group (OR 2.7 95% CI 1.32–5.49, p=0.008), and in early ANC attenders (OR 3.2 95% CI 2.04–4.90, p<0.001). Facility delivery was greater than expected (87.7%), more likely in more educated women (OR 2.7 95% CI 1.50–4.75, p=0.002), in those within 5 kilometers of a facility (OR 3.2 95% CI 1.59–6.48, p=0.002), and for early ANC attenders (OR 2.4 95% CI 1.20–4.91, p=0.02).
Conclusion: Rural contexts can achieve high facility delivery coverage. Based on our findings, strategies to reach women yet unserved should include promotion of early ANC start particularly for the less educated, and improvement of distant communities' access to facilities.
Keywords: Maternal health services, delivery/obstetric, utilization, prenatal care, Tanzania, Africa, south of the Sahara