Problems and Progress of Obstetric Care in Nigeria: Home or Hospital Delivery? Views from a Rural Community.

  • Lola V. Adekunle Department of Epidemiology, Medical Statistics and Environmental Health, College Of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria


Context: Maternal mortality remains a major health problem in Nigeria. Obstetric care services that are acceptable to the community and which they utilise is an essential component of programmes to reduce maternal mortality

Objective: To assess the pattern of utilisation of maternity and other reproductive health care facilities in the rural community of Ilora in Southwestern Nigeria.

Study Design, Setting and Subjects: A questionnaire survey of women of childbearing age during visits to households selected by a multistage sampling process

Results: More than 70% of the women were illiterate. Despite the fact that 87% of the women made use of antenatal care services, nearly half of the children were born either at home (40.2%) or in the farm (9.7%). Among women delivering at home, 45% were assisted by mothers-in-law, 38.7% by neighbours and 22% had no help at all. The reasons the women gave for delivering at home include lack of transportation, being unaware that labour was advanced until it was too late and the influence of their mothers and mothers-in-law who had delivered their own babies at home.

Conclusion: There are deep psychosocial and cultural barriers to the utilisation of obstetric care services by rural women in Southwestern Nigeria. In order to reduce maternal mortality, there is need for intensive health education not only for the pregnant women but also their mothers, mothers-in-law, siblings and husbands on the potential complications of labour and delivery that cannot be managed effectively either at home or on the farm.

Key Words: Obstetric Services, Maternal Mortality, Rural Women.

[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2002, 19: 82- 85]

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eISSN: 0189-5117