Factors affecting utilization of health facilities for labour and childbirth: a case study from rural Uganda
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BACKGROUND: Since 2000 considerable attention has been placed on maternal health outcomes as the 5th Millennium Goal. In Uganda, only 65% of births are delivered by a skilled birth attendant, contributing to the 435 women that die in every 100,000 births from unattended complications. Factors that impact a women's decision on where to deliver include cost and household barriers, poor health services and lack of education.
METHODS: Insight into factors impacting maternal health decision-making in two villages in South Eastern Uganda, were explored through a cross-sectional study using focus group discussions (FDGs) with men and women and administering a simple questionnaire.
RESULTS: For men and women in the villages, cultural and community patterns of behavior have the strongest impact on delivery options. While women with no complications could often find options to deliver safely, lack of emergency obstetric care remains a strong factor in maternal deaths.
CONCLUSIONS: This article proposes that communities be engaged in identifying and leveraging their strengths to find solutions for challenges facing women in achieving safe deliveries.
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