Equity in maternal health in South Africa: analysis of health service access and health status in a national household survey.
ABSTRACT: South Africa is increasingly focused on reducing maternal mortality. Documenting variation in access to maternal health services across one of the most inequitable nations could assist in re-direction of resources.Analysis draws on a population-based household survey that used multistage-stratified sampling. Women, who in the past two years were pregnant (1113) or had a child (1304), completed questionnaires and HIV testing. Distribution of access to maternal health services and health status across socio-economic, education and other population groups was assessed using weighted data.Poorest women had near universal antenatal care coverage (ANC), but only 39.6% attended before 20 weeks gestation; this figure was 2.7-fold higher in the wealthiest quartile (95%CI adjusted odds ratio = 1.2-6.1). Women in rural-formal areas had lowest ANC coverage (89.7%), percentage completing four ANC visits (79.7%) and only 84.0% were offered HIV testing. Testing levels were highest among the poorest quartile (90.1% in past two years), but 10% of women above 40 or with low education had never tested. Skilled birth attendant coverage (overall 95.3%) was lowest in the poorest quartile (91.4%) and rural formal areas (85.6%). Around two thirds of the wealthiest quartile, of white and of formally-employed women had a doctor at childbirth, 11-fold higher than the poorest quartile. Overall, only 44.4% of pregnancies were planned, 31.7% of HIV-infected women and 68.1% of the wealthiest quartile. Self-reported health status also declined considerably with each drop in quartile, education level or age group.Aside from early ANC attendance and deficiencies in care in rural-formal areas, inequalities in utilisation of services were mostly small, with some measures even highest among the poorest. Considerably larger differences were noted in maternal health status across population groups. This may reflect differences between these groups in quality of care received, HIV infection and in social determinants of health.
Project description:This study seeks to understand distance from health facilities as a barrier to maternal and child health service uptake within a rural Liberian population. Better understanding the relationship between distance from health facilities and rural health care utilization is important for post-Ebola health systems reconstruction and for general rural health system planning in sub-Saharan Africa.Cluster-sample survey data collected in 2012 in a very rural southeastern Liberian population were analyzed to determine associations between quartiles of GPS-measured distance from the nearest health facility and the odds of maternal (ANC, facility-based delivery, and PNC) and child (deworming and care seeking for ARI, diarrhea, and fever) service use. We estimated associations by fitting simple and multiple logistic regression models, with standard errors adjusted for clustered data.Living in the farthest quartile was associated with lower odds of attending 1-or-more ANC checkup (AOR?=?0.04, P?<?0.001), 4-or-more ANC checkups (AOR?=?0.13, P?<?0.001), delivering in a facility (AOR?=?0.41, P?=?0.006), and postnatal care from a health care worker (AOR?=?0.44, P?=?0.009). Children living in all other quartiles had lower odds of seeking facility-based fever care (AOR for fourth quartile?=?0.06, P?<?0.001) than those in the nearest quartile. Children in the fourth quartile were less likely to receive deworming treatment (AOR?=?0.16, P?<?0.001) and less likely (but with only marginal statistical significance) to seek ARI care from a formal HCW (AOR?=?0.05, P?=?0.05). Parents in distant quartiles more often sought ARI and diarrhea care from informal providers.Within a rural Liberian population, distance is associated with reduced health care uptake. As Liberia rebuilds its health system after Ebola, overcoming geographic disparities, including through further dissemination of providers and greater use of community health workers should be prioritized.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Egypt has seen substantial decreases in maternal mortality and reached near universal coverage for antenatal care (ANC). The objective of this paper is to describe the changes over time (1991-2014) in the use of ANC in Egypt, focusing on sector of provision (public versus private), and the content and equity of this care, to inform future policies for improving maternal and newborn health. METHODS:We used Demographic and Health surveys (DHS) conducted in Egypt in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2014 to explore national and regional trends in ANC. To assess content of care, we calculated the percentage of ANC users who reported receiving seven ANC components measured in DHS in 2014. RESULTS:During the period under consideration, the percentage of women in need of ANC who received facility-based ANC increased from 42 to 90%, the majority of which was private-sector ANC. The mean number of ANC visits among ANC users increased over time from 7.5 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.1-7.9) in 1991-1995 to 9.7 (95%CI 9.6-9.9) in 2010-2014. In 2010-2014, 44% of women using public ANC reported eight or more visits compared to 71% in private ANC. In the same period, 24% of ANC users received all seven care components. This percentage ranged from 10% of women reporting fewer than four ANC visits to 29% of women reporting eight or more. The poorest ANC users received all seven measured components of care less often than the wealthiest (20% versus 28%, p-value< 0.001). CONCLUSIONS:Egypt's improvements in ANC coverage were characterized by decreasing reliance on public services and a rising number of ANC visits. However, despite rising ANC coverage, less than a third of women received the seven essential ANC components measured at least once during pregnancy, with differences between poorer and wealthier women. Policymakers need to ensure that high ANC coverage translates into equity-focused interventions targeting ANC quality. Further research needs to support this effort by assessing the determinants behind poor quality of ANC and evaluating potential interventions.
Project description:Despite strong evidence for the effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapy for improving the health of women living with HIV and for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), HIV persists as a major maternal and child health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. In most settings antenatal care (ANC) services and HIV treatment services are offered in separate clinics. Integrating these services may result in better uptake of services, reduction of the time to treatment initiation, better adherence, and reduction of stigma.A prospective cluster randomized controlled trial design was used to evaluate the effects of integrating HIV treatment into ANC clinics at government health facilities in rural Kenya. Twelve facilities were randomized to provide either fully integrated services (ANC, PMTCT, and HIV treatment services all delivered in the ANC clinic) or non-integrated services (ANC clinics provided ANC and basic PMTCT services and referred clients to a separate HIV clinic for HIV treatment). During June 2009- March 2011, 1,172 HIV-positive pregnant women were enrolled in the study. The main study outcomes are rates of maternal enrollment in HIV care and treatment, infant HIV testing uptake, and HIV-free infant survival. Baseline results revealed that the intervention and control cohorts were similar with respect to socio-demographics, male partner HIV testing, sero-discordance of the couple, obstetric history, baseline CD4 count, and WHO Stage. Challenges faced while conducting this trial at low-resource rural health facilities included frequent staff turnover, stock-outs of essential supplies, transportation challenges, and changes in national guidelines.This is the first randomized trial of ANC and HIV service integration to be conducted in rural Africa. It is expected that the study will provide critical evidence regarding the implementation and effectiveness of this service delivery strategy, with important implications for programs striving to eliminate vertical transmission of HIV and improve maternal health.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00931216 http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00931216.
Project description:BACKGROUND: With the date for achieving the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaching fast, there is a heightened concern about equity, as inequities hamper progress towards the MDGs. Equity-focused approaches have the potential to accelerate the progress towards achieving the health-related MDGs faster than the current pace in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner. Ghana's rate of progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 related to reducing child and maternal mortality respectively is less than what is required to achieve the targets. The objective of this paper is to examine the equity dimension of child and maternal health outcomes and interventions using Ghana as a case study. METHODS: Data from Ghana Demographic and Health Survey 2008 report is analyzed for inequities in selected maternal and child health outcomes and interventions using population-weighted, regression-based measures: slope index of inequality and relative index of inequality. RESULTS: No statistically significant inequities are observed in infant and under-five mortality, perinatal mortality, wasting and acute respiratory infection in children. However, stunting, underweight in under-five children, anaemia in children and women, childhood diarrhoea and underweight in women (BMI < 18.5) show inequities that are to the disadvantage of the poorest. The rates significantly decrease among the wealthiest quintile as compared to the poorest. In contrast, overweight (BMI 25-29.9) and obesity (BMI ? 30) among women reveals a different trend - there are inequities in favour of the poorest. In other words, in Ghana overweight and obesity increase significantly among women in the wealthiest quintile compared to the poorest. With respect to interventions: treatment of diarrhoea in children, receiving all basic vaccines among children and sleeping under ITN (children and pregnant women) have no wealth-related gradient. Skilled care at birth, deliveries in a health facility (both public and private), caesarean section, use of modern contraceptives and intermittent preventive treatment for malaria during pregnancy all indicate gradients that are in favour of the wealthiest. The poorest use less of these interventions. Not unexpectedly, there is more use of home delivery among women of the poorest quintile. CONCLUSION: Significant Inequities are observed in many of the selected child and maternal health outcomes and interventions. Failure to address these inequities vigorously is likely to lead to non-achievement of the MDG targets related to improving child and maternal health (MDGs 4 and 5). The government should therefore give due attention to tackling inequities in health outcomes and use of interventions by implementing equity-enhancing measure both within and outside the health sector in line with the principles of Primary Health Care and the recommendations of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health.
Project description:Better insights into health care utilization and out-of-pocket expenditures for non-communicable chronic diseases (NCCD) are needed to develop accessible health care and limit the increasing financial burden of NCCDs in Sub-Saharan Africa.A household survey was conducted in rural Kwara State, Nigeria, among 5,761 individuals. Data were obtained using biomedical and socio-economic questionnaires. Health care utilization, NCCD-related health expenditures and distances to health care providers were compared by sex and by wealth quintile, and a Heckman regression model was used to estimate health expenditures taking selection bias in health care utilization into account.The prevalence of NCCDs in our sample was 6.2%. NCCD-affected individuals from the wealthiest quintile utilized formal health care nearly twice as often as those from the lowest quintile (87.8% vs 46.2%, p = 0.002). Women reported foregone formal care more often than men (43.5% vs. 27.0%, p = 0.058). Health expenditures relative to annual consumption of the poorest quintile exceeded those of the highest quintile 2.2-fold, and the poorest quintile exhibited a higher rate of catastrophic health spending (10.8% among NCCD-affected households) than the three upper quintiles (4.2% to 6.7%). Long travel distances to the nearest provider, highest for the poorest quintile, were a significant deterrent to seeking care. Using distance to the nearest facility as instrument to account for selection into health care utilization, we estimated out-of-pocket health care expenditures for NCCDs to be significantly higher in the lowest wealth quintile compared to the three upper quintiles.Facing potentially high health care costs and poor accessibility of health care facilities, many individuals suffering from NCCDs-particularly women and the poor-forego formal care, thereby increasing the risk of more severe illness in the future. When seeking care, the poor spend less on treatment than the rich, suggestive of lower quality care, while their expenditures represent a higher share of their annual household consumption. This calls for targeted interventions that enhance health care accessibility and provide financial protection from the consequences of NCCDs, especially for vulnerable populations.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The provision of quality health services has been a global priority to reduce neonatal and maternal deaths. In Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), the coverage of institutional childbirth stayed at a low level regardless of a sharp increase in the coverage of antenatal care (ANC) and fee exemption. The aim of the present study was to preliminary explore factors associated with increased institutional childbirth and the association between ANC attendance and maternal knowledge among women in rural villages of Lao PDR. METHODS:A secondary data analysis was conducted using data collected through a pilot survey in Sekong province in Lao PDR. The study participants were women with children under 5 years of age in villages within 10?km (km) from health centers staffed with skilled birth attendants. Data were collected via a face-to-face interview using a semi-structured questionnaire and were analysed using logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for having institutional childbirth in relation to potential factors. RESULTS:A total of 302 women, 203 (67.2%) of whom gave birth at a health facility. 277 (91.7%) attended ANC at least once. Sixty-nine women (22.9%) had received no formal education, 272 (90.1%) were of an ethnic minority, 174 (57.6%) were unwaged and 99 (32.8%) lived more than 6?km from the nearest health facility. 51 (16.6%) did not know about birth complications at interview. Institutional childbirth was negatively associated with a lack of maternal knowledge about birth complications (OR, 0.27; 95% Cl, 0.14-0.54) after adjusting for covariates. Although there were few women who did not received ANC, the results suggested ANC might not be associated with maternal knowledge about birth complications (OR, 1.87; 95% Cl, 0.43-8.12). CONCLUSIONS:The present study suggests that maternal knowledge about birth complications is an important factor in increasing the institutional childbirth in rural villages of Lao PDR where majority of residents were ethnic minority. Improving quality of ANC and attitude among health care providers may be key to increasing health-seeking behavior. However, further research is needed to understand factors influencing choice of place of childbirth.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In 2010, an estimated 141 new HIV infections occurred per day in Cameroon and reports suggest an upsurge of these rates by 2020 if current trends continue. Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV is a major public health challenge, and maternal knowledge on HIV transmission during pregnancy and its prevention is important in curtailing paediatric HIV acquisition. OBJECTIVES:We aimed at establishing the prevalence of maternal HIV infection as well as assessing knowledge on HIV, MTCT and prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) of HIV among pregnant women in a rural area of Cameroon. METHODS:This study was conducted in two phases: a 29 month retrospective analysis of 1866 deliveries within three rural health facilities in the Babessi sub-division, Northwest Cameroon and a 1 month prospective phase wherein 150 consenting pregnant women attending antenatal care (ANC) at the study centres were consecutively recruited. RESULTS:Overall, the prevalence of maternal HIV infection was 5.0% (100/2016). All (100%) of the interviewed pregnant women were aware of HIV infection and most (76.7%) had adequate knowledge on its routes of transmission. Meanwhile, only 79.3% (119/150) of them were aware of MTCT with slightly above a third (37.0%) having adequate knowledge on the periods of transmission. The proportions of women correctly stating: during pregnancy, during labour/delivery and during breastfeeding as possible periods of MTCT of HIV were 63.0%, 60.5% and 89.1% respectively. A majority (76.3%) of these women had inadequate knowledge on PMTCT of HIV. CONCLUSION:The overall prevalence of maternal HIV warrants strengthening of current intervention strategies including scaling-up of PMTCT measures. Among others, intensification of HIV-related ANC services to improve the pregnant women's awareness and knowledge on MTCT and its prevention are vital steps in curbing the growing burden of paediatric HIV.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Many HIV-infected pregnant women identified during antenatal care (ANC) do not enroll in long-term HIV care, resulting in deterioration of maternal health and continued risk of HIV transmission to infants. METHODS:We performed a cluster randomized trial to evaluate the effect of integrating HIV care into ANC clinics in rural Kenya. Twelve facilities were randomized to provide either integrated services (ANC, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, and HIV care delivered in the ANC clinic; n = 6 intervention facilities) or standard ANC services (including prevention of mother-to-child transmission and referral to a separate clinic for HIV care; n = 6 control facilities). RESULTS:There were high patient attrition rates over the course of this study. Among study participants who enrolled in HIV care, there was 12-month follow-up data for 256 of 611 (41.8%) women and postpartum data for only 325 of 1172 (28%) women. By 9 months of age, 382 of 568 (67.3%) infants at intervention sites and 338 of 594 (57.0%) at control sites had tested for HIV [odds ratio (OR) 1.45, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.71 to 2.82]; 7.3% of infants tested HIV positive at intervention sites compared with 8.0% of infants at control sites (OR 0.89, 95% CI: 0.56 to 1.43). The composite clinical/immunologic progression into AIDS was similar in both arms (4.9% vs. 5.1%, OR 0.83, 95% CI: 0.41 to 1.68). CONCLUSIONS:Despite the provision of integrated services, patient attrition was substantial in both arms, suggesting barriers beyond lack of service integration. Integration of HIV services into the ANC clinic was not associated with a reduced risk of HIV transmission to infants and did not appear to affect short-term maternal health outcomes.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To determine the extent to which the narrowing of child mortality across wealth gradients has been related to foreign aid to the health sector in low- and middle-income countries. METHODS:Mortality and wealth data on 989,901 under-5 children from 957,674 households in 49 aid recipient countries in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Caribbean between 1993 and 2012 were used in the analysis. Declines in under-5 mortality in the four poorest wealth quantiles were compared to the decline among the wealthiest at varying levels of health aid per capita using fixed effects multivariable regression models and controlling for maternal education, urbanization, and domestic spending on health among recipient countries. RESULTS:Each additional dollar in total health aid per capita was associated with 5.7 fewer deaths per 10,000 child-years among children in the poorest relative to the wealthiest households (p<0.001). This was also true when measured in percent declines (1.90% faster decline in under-5 mortality among the poorest compared with the wealthiest with each dollar in total health aid, p?=?0.008). The association was stronger when using health aid specifically for malaria than total health aid, 12.60% faster decline among the poorest compared with the wealthiest with each dollar in malaria aid, p?=?0.001. CONCLUSIONS:Foreign aid to the health sector is preferentially related to reductions in under-5 mortality among the poorest compared with the wealthiest. Health aid addressing malaria, which imposes a disproportionate burden among the poor, may explain the observed effect.
Project description:Introduction:Wealth-related inequalities in reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health have been widely studied by dividing the population into quintiles. We present a comprehensive analysis of wealth inequalities for the composite coverage index (CCI) using national health surveys carried out since 2010, using wealth deciles and absolute income estimates as stratification variables, and show how these new approaches expand on traditional equity analyses. Methods:83 low-income and middle-income countries were studied. The CCI is a combined measure of coverage with eight key reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health interventions. It was disaggregated by wealth deciles for visual inspection of inequalities, and the slope index of inequality (SII) was estimated. The correlation between coverage in the extreme deciles and SII was assessed. Finally, we used multilevel models to examine how the CCI varies according to the estimated absolute income for each wealth quintile in the surveys. Results:The analyses of coverage by wealth deciles and by absolute income show that inequality is mostly driven by coverage among the poor, which is much more variable than coverage among the rich across countries. Regardless of national coverage, in 61 of the countries, the wealthiest decile achieved 70% or higher CCI coverage. Well-performing countries were particularly effective in achieving high coverage among the poor. In contrast, underperforming countries failed to reach the poorest, despite reaching the better-off. Conclusion:There are huge inequalities between the richest and the poorest women and children in most countries. These inequalities are strongly driven by low coverage among the poorest given the wealthiest groups achieve high coverage irrespective of where they live, overcoming any barriers that are an impediment to others. Countries that 'punched above their weight' in coverage, given their level of absolute wealth, were those that best managed to reach their poorest women and children.