Barriers to Skilled Birth Attendance: A Survey among Mothers in Rural Gambia
The objectives of this cross-sectional survey were to identify the most important barriers for use of skilled attendance during childbirth by women in rural Gambia. We also assessed information received during antenatal care, preparations made prior to childbirth, and experiences and perceptions that may influence the use of skilled birth attendance in rural Gambia. The most frequently stated barriers for giving birth in a health facility were not having enough time to go (75%), and lack of transport (29%). The majority of the women (83%) stated that they preferred having a health worker attending their childbirth. More than seventy percent of the participants gave birth attended by a traditional birth attendant, but only 27% had intended to give birth at home. Sixty-four percent had made advance arrangements for the childbirth. Only 22% were informed about expected time of birth during antenatal care. Our findings suggest that the participants hold the knowledge and motivation that is necessary if practices are to be changed. Interventions aiming at ensuring timely transport of women to health facilities seem key to increased use of skilled birth attendants. (Afr J Reprod Health 2014; 18: 35-43).
Keywords: Childbirth, maternal health services, access, barriers, birth preparedness, complication readiness
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