Utilization of Preconception Care Services among Couples Aged (18-49) Years in Bungoma County, Kenya.

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Mukhalisi, Audrey Nasenya
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Kenyatta University
Preconception Care (PCC) is described as health care services for all men and women who may have an intention to conceive so as to point out and alter behavioral, psychological, biomedical, and social risks to the parents' health and their future child's health. The endmost aim being, the improvement of the pregnancy results. The broad objective of the study was to assess the utilization of preconception care services among couples aged (18-49 years) in Kanduyi Sub-County, Bungoma County, Kenya. The study used an analytical cross-sectional study design that made use of both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. Quantitative data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires from the study participants while qualitative data was collected using Focused Group Discussion guides with primary respondents. A pre-test study was carried out in one randomly selected ward in Webuye East sub-county. Four wards in Kanduyi Sub-County were randomly selected for the study, using the Lottery random sampling method. The study participants were sampled proportionately from each ward. Data collection instruments, used by the researcher were a semi-structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire and focused group discussion guide. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences, version 22 was used for the descriptive analysis of the quantitative data. The quantitative results were presented using bar graphs, tables, and pie charts. Chi-square tests were used for testing variable associations at a 95% confidence interval, and p-values of less than 0.05 were considered to be significant. Thematic analysis of qualitative data was carried out, and results presented as narrations or quotes. The findings from this study have; first helped to depict a low-level of knowledge on preconception care services among couples, whereby only 41% (159) of the couples had adequate knowledge on preconception care. Secondly, the utilization of preconception care services among the couples in Kanduyi sub-county in Bungoma county is very low, especially on some services. For instance, the majority 65% (251) of the couples were not screened for any medical condition prior to conception. Socio-demographic factors such as; level of education (p=0.029), age (p=0.042), occupation (p=0.030), place of residence (p=0.002) and gravidity (p=0.001) were significantly associated with the utilization of preconception care services. The sociocultural factors that were significantly associated with the utilization of preconception care services were; partners' support (65%), traditional beliefs (81%), and church attendance (85%). The study concludes that the rate of utilization of preconception care services among couples in Bungoma County was relatively low. The study recommends scaling up and sensitization of preconception care programs to increase utilization rates among the couples. These results will be useful to policy makers, health researchers and other stakeholders to develop action plans to improve the utilization of preconception care services among the couples, which will further lead to improved maternal outcomes as well reduce maternal deaths associated with pregnancy related complications.
A Research Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of the Degree of Master of Public Health (Reproductive Health) in the School of Public Health and Applied Human Sciences of Kenyatta University,August, 2022.
Preconception Care Services, Couples Aged (18-49) Years, Bungoma County, Kenya