Socio-demographic determinants of antenatal clinic utilization in a Nigerian university teaching hospital
BACKGROUND: The goal of the safe motherhood initiative launched in Kenya in 1987 was to reduce the global maternal mortality rates by 50% by the year 2000, while the fifth millennium development goal (MDG) aims to improve maternal health with a target of reducing maternal mortality rate by 75% between 1990 and 2015. The safe motherhood initiative and similar programmes increased international awareness on the problems of maternal mortality in developing countries. This led to initiation of several interventions addressing different aspects of safe motherhood and maternal mortality including increased access to antenatal care for pregnant women.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined the socio-demographic variables affecting antenatal clinic utilization in a Nigerian university teaching hospital.
METHOD: Two hundred and fifty five parturients waiting to be attended to by doctors at the antenatal clinics of the University of Nigeria teaching hospital Ituku Ozalla between March and April 2013 were selected using the convenient sampling method and surveyed with a pre-tested, semi structured and self administered questionnaire.
RESULTS: Proper response rate was 98.6% and the mean age of the respondents was 27.8±8.7 years. Their parities ranged from 0-6 with a mean of 1.4±1.6. It was found that 14.9% of the parturients were 35 years and above of whom 16.2% were primigravidae. Furthermore 69.1% had either a diploma or university degree. Women with higher education increasingly took decisions on reproductive health issues (p<0.05). It was also discovered that poor education and low socioeconomic status were associated with poor utilization of antenatal facilities.
CONCLUSION:Among other social factors female education improved women’s ability to take decisions on reproductive matters. Poor education and low socioeconomic status not only increase women’s vulnerability to complications of pregnancy but also prevented them from utilizing available obstetric services. In the light of the above it is recommended that the institution of social interventions that mobilize vulnerable groups of parturients for antenatal care is essential for the enhancement of maternal health in developing countries.
Key Words: Antenatal care, socio-demographic factors, psychological support.