Maternity waiting homes in Rural Health Centers of Ethiop: The situation, women’s experiences and challenges
Background: Maternity waiting homes have been promoted to improve pregnant women’s access to quality obstetric care. The main aim of this study was to assess the situation of maternity waiting homes and the experiences and challenges of mothers using waiting homes.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 134 health centers in Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations Nationalities and People (SNNP) and Tigray regions of Ethiopia. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative methods. Data were collected by interviewing the head of the health centers and women staying at the waiting homes during the time of the survey.
Results: Ninety-four (70%) health centers had maternity waiting homes at the time of the survey. Typologies of the waiting homes and their capability of holding clients varied from region to region. Protocols for managing the waiting homes and admission and discharge criteria were not available elsewhere. Mothers who used waiting homes faced several challenges: No one was available to care for children at home, mothers were considered as being lazy, food problems and lengthy prenatal stay were among the challenges mothers mentioned of staying at the waiting homes.
Conclusions: It is necessary to prepare guidelines for the establishment and management of waiting homes as well as set up admission and discharge criteria and to initiate quality control mechanisms.
Keywords: Maternity waiting homes, waiting homes, prenatal care, intention to stay postpartum, postpartum care, Ethiopia, health center, obstetric complications