Utilization of antenatal care services among mothers in Central Divison, Kitui District, Kenya.
Muinde, N. Fridah
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To promote the health and survival of mothers and babies, Kenya has adapted the W1-10 goaloriented Antenatal Care (ANC) package, popularly known as Focused ANC (FANC).The Ministry of Health (MOH) has designed new guidelines for FANC services, placing emphasis on refocusing antenatal care, birth planning and emergency preparedness. ANC visits are now used as an entry point for a range of other reproductive health services, thus promoting comprehensive integrated service delivery. The objectives of this study were; to establish whether antenatal mothers in Central Division of Kitui District were aware of the antenatal cure services available in the health care facilities and their health benefits, assess the levels of utilization of these services and establish the social- cultural and economic lectors that influence the utilization of these services. This was a cross-sectional descriptive study. Convenient sampling was employed to identify the study area and simple random sampling to select the research participants. A total number of 254 antenatal mothers were sampled. Data collection tools included structured questionnaires, key informant interview guide and focus group discussion guide. Quantitative data analysis was done using SPSS version 11.5. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used. 76.4% of the mothers fully utilized antenatal care services while 23.6% did not. The utilization of ANC services increased with the number of previous deliveries (X2=22.891, df=4, p=0.0001). It was also observed that the level of knowledge for antenatal care services being offered was higher with an increase in the number of deliveries (X2=83.973, df=12, p=0.0001). This was an indication that those women with prior deliveries were more likely to report for antenatal care services at an earlier gestation age. Age was also observed to affect utilization of antenatal care services, whereby the younger respondents had little knowledge about the antenatal care services. From the study findings, awareness of the benefits of antenatal care services influenced the utilization of ANC services. It was observed that the respondents who thought that it was important for pregnant mothers to receive intermittent presumptive treatment of malaria were more likely to utilize antenatal care services (X2=6.833, df=l, p=0.009). Negative attitude towards health providers was also found to hinder utilization of antenatal care services (X2=8.019, df=l, p=0.005). It was further noted that respondents who were aware of the dangers of anaemia in pregnancy were more likely to utilize antenatal care services (X2=12.966, df=3, p=0.005). Consequently, women who had support from the spouse were also more likely to utilize antenatal care services (X2=4.1 12, df=1, p=0.043). Other factors like the distance to the health facility, availability of the antenatal care services and time taken to reach the health facility were also found to influence ANC services utilization. Tile study concludes that the level of utilization of ANC services was relatively high and that socio-cultural and economic factors hindered utilization of antenatal care services. It is recommended that the Ministry of health and hospitals should improve training sessions for ANC staff regarding client handling in order to make the services more acceptable. Hospitals should utilize CBOs to sensitize tile community about ANC services in order to encourage early visits among women in their first pregnancy as well as spouse support. The government through the ministry of health should provide health facilities within the reach of the people to optimize their utilization. This will assist in improving utilization of antenatal care services and also reduce the utilization of traditional birth attendants.