Birth preparedness among women in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya
Makunyi, Eliphas Gitonga
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It is estimated that in 2008, 358,000 maternal deaths occurred in the world. It is also estimated that in Kenya, 7,700 women die annually due to pregnancy related complications. This translates to approximately 21 women each day or approximately one Kenyan woman every hour. Out of every 10 women, 9 of them receive skilled ante-natal care but only 4 receive skilled birth attendance. The objective of the study was to assess the determinants of birth preparedness among women attending maternal and child health in Tharaka sub-county. The specific objectives were to assess the proportion of women with birth preparedness plans, to assess the socio-demographic, maternal and institutional determinants of birth preparedness. The area of study was Tharaka sub-county and the target population were women who had delivered within two years prior to the study attending maternal and child health clinics. A descriptive cross sectional study was carried out. Data collection was done using interviewer administered questionnaires, focus group discussion guide and key informant interview guide. Tharaka sub-county was purposively selected. Stratified sampling was used to select the facilities while systematic sampling was used to select the respondents. Every 14th client attending maternal and child health clinic was interviewed. The sample size was 345. STATA version 11 was used to analyse the data. Descriptive statistics was used to generate proportions and frequencies while chi square, Fisher’s exact test and logistic regression were used to draw inferences. This study found out that the proportion of women that was prepared for birth was low (20.3%). The aspect of birth preparedness that was identified and planned for by the highest number of women was finances for delivery expenses (74%) followed by place of delivery (68%) while the least was the mode of transport to the facility (35%). The socio-demographic determinants were maternal education (OR=1.5), occupation (OR=3.5), average income (OR=1.6) and marital status (OR=2.2). The maternal determinants were history of still birth (OR=0.2) and attendance of 4 or more ante natal visits (OR=2.2). There were no institutional determinants of birth preparedness with this study. In conclusion, the level of birth preparedness is low. The research recommends to ministry of health to sensitize women of reproductive age on birth preparedness. Birth preparedness should also be improved through quality ANC. The government through relevant agencies should encourage the education of the girl child and put in place strategies to increase the average income of women.