Utilization of Free Maternity Services among Mothers Aged 18- 49 Years in Nakuru County, Kenya
Najoli, Priscilla Jemeli
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In response to sustainable development goal (SDG) 3,all countries were expected by 2030 to have improved maternal and neonatal health indicators.In Kenya,the hope of free maternity services (FMS) was to increase the demand for maternity health care services offered by certified health professionals.This,inturn would contribute to reversing MMR and neonatal mortality and improve the uptake of skilled birth attendance(SBA).Nakuru County has indicated poor maternal child health indicators as demonstrated by increased MMR,neonatal mortality and low SBA.Thus,this study aimed to determine and understand the utilization level of FMS among mothers aged 18-49 living in Naivasha Sub-County,Kenya.The research employed a crosssectional and descriptive design that involved 392 women who utilized FMS 2018- 2019.A mixed-methods approach collected quantitative and qualitative data through structured questionnaires,health records reviews,focus group discussions, and key informant interviews.The quantitative and qualitative data were analyzed by use of SPSS 20 and content analysis respectively.The results were further subjected to multiple regression analysis.The findings showed that over 80% utilized antenatal care, facility deliveries and postnatal care, but 68% of respondents utilized family planning. The mothers were found active in their first, second and third pregnancies in utilizing FMS followed by a sudden decline.The mothers preferred the public health facilities to the private, mission and NGOs.The significant findings influencing the utilization of FMS among the mothers were age (P=.004), the number of children (P=.000), age at first birth (P=.025), household income (P=.008) and residential area (P=000).The mothers in rural and periurban settings utilized the FMS than their counterparts in the urban areas.The mothers' level of knowledge on FMS was notably at 80%.The radio, television,health facility and community sources were significant with (P=.000) as effective sources of information for the mothers in the community.The decision makers consider age, the number of children, age at first birth, household income and residential area in formulation of FMS policies.Further,utilize relevant sources of information on FMS in the community.