Determinants of Utilization of Maternal Health Services Among Traders in Lagos Markets
Background: Utilization of health services is a complex behavioral phenomenon, related to the availability, quality and cost of services, social structure, health beliefs and characteristics of the users. Objective: This study was carried out to examine factors influencing the use of maternal health care services amongst traders in Lagos markets. Methods: A cross sectional descriptive survey of market traders in16 markets within Lagos metropolis was conducted using a 28-item questionnaire to obtain information about the socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge about the locations of Primary Health Care (PHC) services, type of services received, perceived quality, reasons for choice and sources of alternative maternal health care. Results: The majority [73.5%] admitted awareness of a primary health care center in the area, 64% of them used them, for antenatal care [44%], delivery [34%], and family planning services [22%]. Among users, 91.6% expressed satisfaction with the services. Other sources of maternal health care used included private hospitals [66.7%], general/teaching hospitals [8.6%], chemist shops [9%] and traditional birth attendants [7.9%]. Reasons for their preferences related to better service, better attitudes and perceived proficiency of staff and proximity to home or place of trade. Utilization of maternal health services was significantly related to level of maternal education, knowledge of location of PHC, age, marital status, number of children, satisfaction with services received, perceived severity of danger signs of pregnancy and labour [p<0.001]. Suggestions of how reproductive health services could be improved included better funding of PHC facilities [41.1%], improving service delivery [29.1%] and improved attitudes of staff [11.3%]. Conclusion: Improving the maternal health situation in Nigeria would require actions on different fronts; these will include educating women and their households, improving service quality, as well as ensuring that the policies of healthcare institutions and practices within them are user friendly.
Keywords: Utilization, Maternal Health Services, Traders, Markets.
NQJHM Vol. 16 (2) 2006: pp. 69-75