Malawi Medical Journal

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Perceptions of pregnant adolescents on the antenatal care received at Ndirande Health Centre in Blantyre, Malawi

Maria Chifuniro Chikalipo, Linda Nyondo Mipando, Rabecca Chikondi Ngalande, Sadandaula Rose Muheriwa, Ursula Kalimembe Kafulafula


Rates of adolescent pregnancies in Malawi remain high at 29%. Early childbearing is a major health issue because of its increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes compared to older women. Although antenatal care is believed not to directly reduce maternal mortality, comprehensive antenatal care, especially in developing countries, may promote safe motherhood as actual and potential problems related to pregnancy are identified and treated in a timely manner. While antenatal services in Malawi are meant to provide antenatal care for adolescents, much of the care provided seems to be limited. The purpose of this study was to explore views of pregnant adolescent girls about the antenatal care they received at Ndirande clinic. Understanding adolescents’ views about the care they receive may provide an opportunity to identify gaps in the care and ultimately improve the care for pregnant adolescent girls. Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional exploratory study on pregnant adolescent girls’ perceptions of the antenatal care received at Ndirande Health Centre in Blantyre, Malawi, from 7 to 28 October 2011. We interviewed 15 purposively selected pregnant adolescents aged 14 to 19 years using a semi-structured interview guide. All the interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim and translated from Chichewa into English. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis.
Two major themes emerged from the findings: a) caring b) motivation for attending antenatal care. The findings indicate that pregnant adolescents view the establishment of a clinic as acceptable and feasible. However, the care was inadequate, as it did not meet the expected standards and the needs of the pregnant adolescents.
The antenatal care adolescent girls received at Ndirande clinic is inadequate as it does not meet their needs. Innovative models of care that embrace the principles of youth friendly services should be employed.
AJOL African Journals Online