A Meta-Analysis of Socio-Demographic Factors Predicting Birth in Health Facility
BACKGROUND: The low proportion of health facility delivery in developing countries is one of the main challenges in achieving the Millennium Development Goal of a global reduction of maternal deaths by 75% by 2015. There are several primary studies which identified socio-demographic and other predictors of birth in health facility. However, there are no efforts to synthesis the findings of these studies. The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the strength of the association of birth in the health facility with selected sociodemographic factors.
METHODS: A meta-analysis of Mantel–Haenszel odds ratios was conducted by including 24 articles which were reported between 2000 and 2013 from developing countries. A computer-based search was done from MEDLINE, African Journals Online, Google Scholar and HINARI databases. Included studies did compare the women’s’ health facility delivery in relation to their selected socio-demographic characteristics.
RESULTS: The pooled analysis demonstrated association of health facility delivery with living in urban areas (OR = 9.8), secondary and above educational level of the parents (OR = 5.0), middle to high wealth status (OR = 2.3) and first time pregnancy (OR = 2.8). The risk of delivering outside the health facility was not significantly associated with maternal age (teenage vs 20 years and above) and marital status. The distance of pregnant women’s residence from the health facility was found to have an inverse relation to the proportion of health facility delivery.
CONCLUSION: Although the present meta-analysis identified several variables which were associated with an increase in health facility delivery, the most important predictor of birth in the health facility amenable to intervention is educational status of the parents to be. Therefore, formal and informal education to women and family members on the importance of health facility delivery needs to be strengthened. Improving the wealth status of the population across the world may not be achieved soon, but should be in the long-term strategy to increase the birth rate in the health facility.
KEYWORDS: community based studies, developing countries, health facility delivery, meta-analysis, socio-demographic variables