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Obstetric Danger Signs and Factors Affecting Health Seeking Behaviour among the Kassena-Nankani of Northern Ghana: A Qualitative Study

RA Aborigo
CA Moyer
M Gupta
PB Adongo
J Williams
A Hodgson
P Allote
CM Engmann


Improving community members’ knowledge of obstetric danger signs is one strategy for increasing the use of skilled care during pregnancy and the puerperium. This study explored knowledge of obstetric danger signs among a range of community members, examined the sources of their information, and the perceived factors that affect health seeking behaviour in rural northern Ghana. We conducted 72 in-depth interviews and 18 focus groups with community members. All interactions were audio taped, transcribed verbatim and analysed using NVivo 9.0. Community members demonstrated knowledge of a wide range of obstetric danger signs,  including excessive bleeding, stomach aches, waist pains, vomiting and fever. Pregnant women learn about danger signs from a range of providers, and regular contact with formal providers typically coincided with increased knowledge of danger signs. Traditional remedies for problems in obstetrics are plentiful and cultural beliefs often restrict the use of allopathic medicine. Increasing knowledge of obstetric danger signs is necessary but not sufficient to overcome cultural preferences for traditional treatments for pregnancy danger signs. (Afr J Reprod Health 2014; 18[3]: 78-86)

Keywords: Obstetric danger signs, knowledge of danger signs, health seeking behaviour, antenatal care, maternal health, Ghana

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eISSN: 1118-4841