Qualitative study on maternal referrals in rural Tanzania: Decision making and acceptance of referral advice

  • A B Pembe
  • DP Urassa
  • E Darj
  • A Carlstedt
Keywords: maternal referrals, decision making, rural, Tanzania, FGD


The aim of this study was to describe perceptions of maternal referrals in a rural district in Tanzania. Focus group discussions (FGDs) with health workers and community members, stratified by age and gender, were conducted. The FGDs revealed that husbands and relatives are the decision makers in maternal referrals, whereas the women had limited influence, especially on emergency referrals. The process in deciding to seek referral care is envisaged within community perception of seriousness of the condition, difficulty to access and cost involved in transport, living expenses at the hospital, and perceived quality of care at facility level. The hospitals were seen as providing acceptable quality of care, whereas, the health centres had lower quality than expected. To improve maternal referral compliance and reduce perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality, community views of existing referral guidelines, poverty reduction, women's empowerment and male involvement in maternal care are necessary

Keywords: maternal referrals, decision making, rural, Tanzania, FGD

African Journal of Reproductive Helath Vol. 12 (2) 2008: pp. 120-131

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eISSN: 1118-4841