n South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology - Maternal health service utilisation in Ubombo district

Volume 9, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0038-2329
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



&lt;I&gt;Objective.&lt;/I&gt; To determine maternal health service utilisation by rural women. The findings presented here are part of a household survey, which studied the effect of accessibility on maternal and child health (MCH) service utilisation and MCH status. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Design.&lt;/I&gt; An analytical cross-sectional household survey. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Setting.&lt;/I&gt; Ubombo district, rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Participants.&lt;/I&gt; Six hundred and forty-six mothers/caregivers of children aged 12 - 23 months were interviewed during June - August 1998 using a structured questionnaire. <br><I>Outcome measures.&lt;/I&gt; These were: (i) the proportion of women who attended an antenatal care (ANC) clinic during pregnancy with the index child; (ii) the proportion of mothers who had supervised deliveries at the health facilities; and (iii) current practice, source and method of family planning. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Results.&lt;/I&gt; Of the 622 mothers interviewed, 99.8% had attended an ANC clinic at least once during pregnancy. More than 80% had obtained ANC from fixed and mobile clinics. Most women (91.2%) had presented early for the first time at an ANC clinic, and 78% had attended five or more times. The majority of women (77.2%) had health facility deliveries. Although 88% of the women reported that they were sexually active, only 46% were currently practising family planning. &lt;br&gt;&lt;I&gt;Conclusions.&lt;/I&gt; Utilisation of ANC and delivery services has improved to a level above the targets set for the years 1998 and 2000. The low utilisation of family planning services is worrying, considering the increasing prevalence of HIV in South Africa. There is an urgent need to promote not only condom usage, but also family planning practice in general. These efforts are essential to make family planning more acceptable to rural communities, especially among men.

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